Michael Wood says Jacinda Ardern 'likely' knew Solicitor-General was considering charging Stuart Nash but 'can't say for sure'

Senior Labour minister Michael Wood says he wasn't aware his colleague Stuart Nash was possibly facing charges back in 2020.

It was revealed on Thursday the Solicitor-General considered charging Nash in 2020 with contempt after saying he hoped the killer of police officer Matthew Hunt spent a long time in jail. 

He wasn't prosecuted in the end, but rather given a telling-off by Attorney-General David Parker.

Nash, the MP for Napier, was already under fire after revelations he called the country's top cop Andrew Coster urging the police to appeal a court decision. 

The minister subsequently resigned from the police portfolio this week. He did not hold that portfolio when he made the call to Coster.

But questions remain over how much then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern knew about the possible charges Nash was facing in 2020.

Newshub understands Hipkins was not aware of this earlier rebuke when he reappointed Nash as Police Minister 44 days ago and he wasn't told on Wednesday.

AM host Ryan Bridge questioned whether Wood, appearing for Friday's political panel alongside National MP Erica Stanford, knew about the 2020 incident.

"I was first aware of that yesterday as a result of the reporting that came out," Wood said.

Bridge then questioned whether Ardern knew of the incident.

"I don't know and that's not a conversation I've had," Wood responded. "In the normal course of events, I would assume that if the Attorney-General became involved in an issue like that, it's likely that the Prime Minister would know as well but I can't say that for sure."

Newshub has contacted the Prime Minister's office for comment.

Wood also defended his current boss Hipkins' handling of revelations Nash had made a phone call to Coster.

Hipkins was "really decisive" about the matter, Wood said.

"Stuart doesn't have that job as Police Minister [anymore] which was the job that he loved, so there's been a consequence for his actions and I think that was the appropriate course of action."

While losing the police portfolio, Nash remained the Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and pressure was mounting on Hipkins to boot the Napier MP out of Cabinet altogether. 

But Hipkins has defended his decision to not strip Nash of all his portfolios, saying his response was "proportionate".