ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden hits out at Stuart Nash, says Kiwis deserve better

ACT has hit out at sacked MP Stuart Nash saying he's let Kiwis down and he'll undermine the Government if he stays in Parliament.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins sacked Nash on Tuesday evening from his ministerial positions after it was revealed he discussed confidential Cabinet discussions with his donors.

In 2020, Nash emailed business figures about his disappointment at a Cabinet decision on a commercial rent relief package. Two recipients of the email were Troy Bowker and Greg Loveridge, who have both donated to Nash. They are also commercial property owners who had an interest in the Cabinet decision.

ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden told AM Early on Wednesday if Nash stays in Parliament, it will undermine the Government as a whole.

"I think what's really important here is that Stuart Nash just showed that he couldn't follow the rules that he signed up for when he signed up to be a Cabinet Minister, which is confidentiality," van Velden told AM Early host Michael O'Keefe.

"But it's more than that, he's broken the rules four times now and Kiwis expect better from their lawmakers, therefore, he shouldn't be able to make rules for everybody else."

Parliament can decide not to hold a by-election if an electorate MP resigns within six months of a general election which has already been seen this year.

Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delayed her departure from her local electric in Mt Albert to avoid a contest.

The National Party has been quick to call for a by-election in the Napier electorate, saying Nash should be axed from Parliament altogether.

"It's a serious and egregious issue; it is akin to insider trading. It's very simple; he needs to resign from Parliament," National's leader Christopher Luxon said on Tuesday evening.

But van Velden was quick to dismiss that idea saying it would be a "lot of money" and Napier residents already have "enough on their plate".

"I think the people of Napier are dealing with enough at the moment with the cyclone effects and trying to get by and trying to figure out how to live with the cost of living crisis," she said.

"We are still only around six months from an election. I think the cost of a by-election with everything else happening in Napier, it would be a lot for a by-election, but I expect that voters will make a sensible decision in the election.

It's now up to Nash to decide himself if he wants to leave the Beehive. If he does so after April 14th - it won't trigger a by-election for his Napier seat.

It seems like Nash won't leave his Napier seat after telling RNZ "there will be no by-election".

ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden.
ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden. Photo credit: AM

Hipkins said Nash "fundamentally breached my trust and that of his Cabinet colleagues" and Van Velden said Kiwis will have a big decision on their hands at this year's election to decide if they still have confidence in Nash.

Van Velden also questioned the Prime Minister's handling of the Nash saga saying he's shown "weak leadership" and should've sacked the MP after his first strike.

"I think all in all what this is showing is that Chris Hipkins has shown weak leadership because he has allowed his lack of decisiveness to enable Stuart Nash to continue this long," she told AM Early.

"He's shown that he couldn't make those decisive calls and he had weak leadership decision-making and had low standards of his Ministers. So this has taken four strikes for Stuart Nash to be sacked from Cabinet, what does this say about all of the other decisions regarding his other ministers?"

Watch the full interview with Brooke van Velden in the video above.