ACT's David Seymour defends Michael Wood, says shares wouldn't have influenced his decisions

The ACT party leader David Seymour has defended Michael Wood after the Transport Minister came under fire for not immediately declaring his Auckland Airport shares.

The Labour Minister is responsible for the light rail line the Government is building to the airport, but Seymour believed Wood's shares wouldn't have influenced his decisions.

Wood didn't publicly declare his $13,000 worth of shares until last year, claiming he mistakenly thought they were held in a trust which did not need to be declared separately.

The National Party said not disclosing the shares is a major conflict of interest that will impact the Ministers' investment in transport.

Wood has been championing Auckland's light rail which is a multi-billion dollar public transport project that will connect the city centre to the airport. He is also the Minister for Auckland which means he would discuss transport issues with the city's mayor.

However, ACT's David Seymour said he doesn't believe Wood is building light rail in the hope it boosts Auckland Airport's shares. 

"The guy owns $13,000 of Auckland Airport shares, the idea that he's building the light rail there to try and enrich himself doesn't quite stack up," Seymour told AM's panel.

On the other hand, Seymour said it's up to the public to judge that and he should have declared it. 

However, Seymour did question why Wood did not issue a correction on all his previous returns after he started recently declaring the shares.

Wood has held the shares since he was a teenager but only began declaring them to the Cabinet Office last year.

Seymour said if he had issued a correction to his past returns it would have stuck out like a "dog's balls".

"You have to wonder if he didn't think he could quietly start making the right declaration and no one would notice and that would be quite a breach," he said.

Wood's office told Newshub he would be selling the shares.

"The Minister holds 1530 shares in Auckland Airport worth approximately $13,000, and 343 shares in Contact Energy worth approximately $2700.

"He regrets the process of divesting these shares has taken some time." 

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he is investigating to see if any decisions were taken around Auckland Airport in which it could've been deemed a conflict.