National MP Barbara Kuriger resigns from roles after what Christopher Luxon calls 'serious lapse of judgement'

Senior National MP Barbara Kuriger has resigned from her portfolios, including agriculture, due to what leader Christopher Luxon is calling a "serious lapse of judgement".

In a statement on Friday afternoon, Luxon said Kuriger, who entered Parliament in 2014 and has the number 10 ranking in the party caucus, had resigned her portfolios on Thursday night.

Kuriger, the Taranaki King Country MP, had been the party's spokesperson for agriculture, biosecurity and food safety.

"I have become aware that Ms Kuriger and her family are involved in a personal dispute with the Ministry of Primary Industries that is ongoing," Luxon said.

"I discussed this with Ms Kuriger and she accepts that this is a significant conflict of interest and the failure to recognise it and to take steps to manage this conflict has been a serious lapse of judgement. On this basis, Ms Kuriger felt it appropriate to resign from her portfolios."

Newshub understands the matter relates to the prosecution of Kuriger's son. Tony Kuriger plead guilty in 2020 to charges of ill-treatment of cows on a Eketāhuna farm three years earlier. Charges against the National MP's husband were dropped.

In a separate statement, Kuriger said her family has "been in a dispute with the Ministry of Primary Industries over events that occurred in 2017".

"This has created a blurred line with my portfolio responsibilities and in order to continue to support my family, I am stepping aside," she said.

"Although the dispute is, for me, a personal matter which I have endeavoured at all times to keep separate from my professional role, I accept there has been a conflict of interest which I should have recognised sooner, and managed."

She said she wouldn't be commenting further while the dispute was ongoing.

Todd Muller will be the acting spokesperson for agriculture, biosecurity, and food safety.

Luxon said he intends to undertake a wider reshuffle in coming months.