The ACT Party are calling for under-fire minister Michael Wood to go after it was revealed he declined a North Shore airport application while holding Auckland Airport shares which he hadn't disclosed.
Wood was stood down from his Transport portfolio on Tuesday after it emerged he had $13,000 in Auckland Airport shares which he didn't immediately declare. Wood eventually declared the shares last year, but didn't correct previous registers.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said Wood told him the reason he hadn't sold the shares was down to "life admin". But the Prime Minister stood him down as Transport Minister on Tuesday until the matter was resolved.
"I think it is an unacceptable situation for him to find himself in and therefore I think the best thing to do is stand him down while he does resolve those matters," Hipkins said.
Wood said he'd accepted the Prime Minister's decision to stand him down. He also admitted he made a mistake and accepted the punishment.
"I think the decision the Prime Minister has made is the appropriate one," he told reporters. "I accept it with good grace. I made a mistake here. I accept that. That is on me and the appropriate thing that I do now is fix that."
But on Wednesday, new information came to light with NZ Herald reporting Wood declined North Shore Aerodrome's application for airport authority status while he owned shares in Auckland Airport, a potential competitor.
Following this revelation, ACT Party Leader David Seymour called for Hipkins to sack Wood, questioning if New Zealanders can trust the Government.
"Michael Wood can't carry on as a Minister after declining airport authority status to North Shore Aerodrome, despite owning shares in a competing airport," ACT Leader David Seymour said.
"The question of Wood being a minister is no longer a matter of 'life admin' as Chris Hipkins has put it. It is now a matter of whether people can trust the New Zealand Government to be open and transparent about who it serves."
Seymour said the new information is damning and suggested moving the election forward if Hipkins doesn't take drastic action.
"Yesterday, you could give Wood the benefit of the doubt. Sloppy and incompetent, but where's the harm? Today, that question is answered. Nobody can trust a Government where the Minister making decisions for your business might be secretly investing in your competitor," Seymour said.
"If Chris Hipkins keeps Michael Wood as a minister he is telling every New Zealander, and the world, that the Government may be working for its public interest, or perhaps for its members' private interests. Who would know?
"That's why he can't be reinstated as Minister of Transport. He cannot be a minister at all. If Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' real problem is he has nobody capable of filling the role, then he should bring forward the election."