Labour MPs react to Stuart Nash's sacking after leaking confidential Cabinet discussions

Labour MPs are expressing disappointment at their colleague Stuart Nash after it emerged he leaked confidential Cabinet discussions to donors.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Tuesday night dismissed Nash as a minister after it came to light Nash had emailed two businesspeople - who were also donors - about Cabinet discussions on a commercial rent relief package in 2020.

"This is a clear breach of collective responsibility and Cabinet confidentiality, "Hipkins said. "Stuart Nash has fundamentally breached my trust and the trust of his Cabinet colleagues and his conduct is inexcusable."

Nash was already on a final warning from Hipkins after a series of other breaches, including phoning the Police Commissioner about a court judgement. Hipkins stressed leaking the discussions would have resulted in Nash's dismissal regardless.

The Prime Minister said Nash was now reflecting on his position in Parliament, but Nash on Wednesday told RNZ he would be sticking around in his Napier seat and there would be no by-election, like National is calling for.

Labour MPs and ministers on Wednesday morning expressed their frustration with Nash's actions.

"Clearly, he has done some stuff that breached the trust of Cabinet," said Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni, the highest-ranking MP to speak so far on Wednesday.

"Of course, I am disappointed in him. What he has done is breach the trust of Cabinet."

But has he also breached the trust of the Labour Caucus and can he remain in it?

"That's not a decision for me to make by myself without having had any discussion of that nature," she said.

Sepuloni said she had no reason to believe any other Cabinet discussions had been leaked "despite the fact that that's happened in this instance."

David Parker, the Attorney-General, said a breach of confidence amounted also to a breach of trust.

Deborah Russell, the Statistics Minister outside of Cabinet, said Nash has been an "excellent electorate MP" and it is his decision whether to remain as Labour's Napier MP.

She was asked how she could trust him not to leak Caucus discussions.

"Stuart has always acted in the best interests of other people."

Asked if he was happy with Nash staying in the Caucus, Shanan Halbert, the Northcote MP, said the Prime Minister had dealt with Nash breaking the Cabinet Manual and "I'm happy personally to leave it at that".

"It is always sad when one of your colleagues is in this situation," he said.

There's nothing to suggest Nash has broken Caucus rules, Halbert said.

"I'm really comfortable the contribution that I make in Caucus is confidential to us."

He said it is "gutting when somebody has put themselves in a difficult situation."

List MP Angie Warren-Clark said she "took no joy in what has happened to him as a colleague and a friend".

"But actions have consequences."

She said she still trusts him and she believes Caucus can as well.

Whether he should be kicked out of Caucus isn't something she's turned her mind to, but she expects Nash will know "we will be paying attention to what he is doing".

Manurewa MP Arena Williams said Nash hadn't appreciated the rules for Cabinet Ministers and he will be reflecting on that.

Panmure-Ōtāhuhu MP Jenny Salesa said Nash has been a "really good local MP".