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Heather du Plessis-Allan: Kiri Allan should have been fired sooner

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Jul 2023, 6:45pm

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Kiri Allan should have been fired sooner

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Jul 2023, 6:45pm

I don’t buy this debate about Chris Hipkins’ judgement as a leader and whether he made a mistake bringing Kiri Allan back to work from mental health leave too early.

That wasn’t the mistake that he made. His mistake was that he didn’t fire her last month when he should've.

I'm not convinced mental pressure is the sole explanation for what happened on Sunday night.

I'm sure Kiri Allan is under a lot of mental pressure right now, it would be extremely difficult to deal with the break-up of a relationship and the embarrassment of being stood down from your job-however temporarily- at exactly the same time.

But her lapses in judgement pre-date any mental health strain she’s currently under 

The bullying allegations, which she’s now apologised for, date back to last year. The failure to declare the Meng Foon donation and conflict of interest dates back to 2020, and the ill-advised rant at the RNZ party dates back to March.

So mental pressure or not, it was obvious after three lapses in judgement that there was a very good chance there would be a fourth one. Because the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

If I were Chris Hipkins, I would have fired her after the third. I'm not saying that with hindsight, I said that after the third lapse on June 29, on this show, that Kiri Allan would stuff up again was predictable. Because it was predicted.

I agree that Hipkins can blame Jacinda Ardern for the shambles in Cabinet because she clearly ran a loose ship.

But he is now just as much to blame as Ardern, because he has, three times, had a minister in front of him who'd earned a sacking and then not sacked them- and then had another problem and had to sack them. Stuart Nash, Michael Wood, Kiri Allan- you know the story.

If you want to blame Hipkins for anything, blame him for not forcing Kiri Allan to leave a month ago, before she crashed her car after drinking on a Sunday night and brought huge embarrassment to herself.

Blame him for not seeing a pattern of errors of judgement and blame him for making the wrong call for the Labour Party by letting there be another crisis for them to have to deal with.

What happened on Sunday was completely avoidable if Kiri Allan wasn’t in Wellington because she wasn’t a minister anymore.

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