Timeline: How the Michael Wood shares debacle played out

Michael Wood resigned as a minister on Wednesday after revealing he held further shares which weren't properly disclosed. 

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he accepted Wood's resignation after being alerted on Tuesday to additional shareholdings he held in a trust he is a trustee and beneficiary of. 

The Prime Minister said the shares raise concerns about Wood not identifying and managing potential conflicts of interest.  

It's the final blow to Wood's career after a weeks-long debacle over his failure to properly declare shares he held in Auckland Airport. 

The shares debacle - a timeline 

On June 6 it emerged Wood, who was Transport Minister at the time, had owned Auckland Airport shares which are now worth about $13,000, since the 1990s. 

Despite owning them for more than 20 years, he only started declaring them to the public register last year. While he started appropriately declaring them in 2022, he didn't correct previous registers.

Hours after the shares debacle emerged, Hipkins announced he had stood Wood down as Transport Minister while issues around his shares were resolved. 

At the time Hipkins said Wood was planning to sell the shares and had assured him there were no other potential conflicts of interest the Prime Minister needed to know about. 

The next day, on June 7, it emerged Wood had been asked a total of 12 times by the Cabinet Office whether he had divested his Auckland Airport shares - including several occasions this year - and told officials he was about to or was in the process of doing so.

Despite those assurances, which took place over nearly two-and-a-half years, Wood failed to sell his shares. 

Later that day, Wood said he regretted not selling the shares as quickly as he should have. 

He said he had spoken with his sharebroker in the morning and was in the process of selling them. 

The next day on June 8, Sir Maarten Wevers, of the Registrar of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests, launched an inquiry into whether Wood had complied with his obligations to declare his interests.

Sir Wevers said the investigation was launched after he received a letter from National MP Chris Penk requesting an inquiry the previous day.

Michael Wood has stood down as a minister after further shares emerged.
Michael Wood has stood down as a minister after further shares emerged. Photo credit: Newshub

Later on June 8, Wood revealed he had finally sold his Auckland Airport shares.

The Labour MP confirmed they were sold that morning and he has donated the total amount received, more than $16,000, to charity.

He said he has also corrected previous pecuniary interest registers that didn't include the shares.

On June 9, National MP Erica Stanford told AM she believed Wood would be sacked over the shares debacle and said she didn't believe him selling the shares was the end of the saga. 

"When you look at what's happened over the last few years - there have been a number of very serious things that have happened. He didn't register it on his pecuniary interests, he didn't sell his shares, he was told 12 times to do it - still didn't do it," Stanford said.

"He misled the Cabinet office and he misled the Prime Minister and, I'm not calling for him to be sacked, what I am saying is - he will be. You cannot mislead the Prime Minister… his position is completely untenable, you just can't do that.

"I don't think Chris Hipkins has got any choice in the matter."

On June 16 Wood spoke out about the shares saga, saying it was something he "really really profoundly" regretted. 

"For me being in politics is a real calling and politics is about making life better for people, and so this episode arising, and giving an impression that it might be about other stuff is something that really cuts to the core for me," he told AM. 

"I feel terrible about it."

He admitted again "that I didn't get on to selling the shares as quickly as I should've".

"I told the Cabinet Office on day one that I had them, so there was no hiding that, the issue is that I didn't get on to selling them as quickly as I should've."

He said the saga has been a "huge lesson" for him and taught him about the "importance of these things".

On June 21, Hipkins called an impromptu press conference where he revealed Wood had resigned as a Minister and made him aware of additional shareholdings he held in a trust he is a trustee and beneficiary of. 

Hipkins said the new shares raised "significant concerns around Michael [Wood] not identifying and managing potential and real conflicts of interest."

The trust holds shares in Chorus, Spark, and the National Australia Bank.

Hipkins said Wood decided as Immigration Minister to include telecommunications technicians on the immigration Green List after representations from the industry, including Chorus.

Wood also never disclosed his shares in NAB, the parent company of BNZ, during conversations Cabinet had in a market study into banking, Hipkins said. 

"Despite repeated requests from the Cabinet Office and myself for Michael to manage his shareholdings, he has repeatedly failed to identify, disclose and appropriately manage conflicts of interest," Hipkins said.

"When I stood Michael down as Transport Minister, I asked him if there was any other relevant information I should know about and he indicated there was not."   

Hipkins said it has become evident that Wood not adequately managing his airport shares was not an isolated incident and he cannot remain as a minister.

The explanation provided by Wood to Hipkins was that the shares had been in the trust for a long time and he wasn't aware of them.

"I don't accept that," said Hipkins.

The Prime Minister said he didn't believe Wood has worked with any intent of personal gain, but he has let himself and the Government down. This is a serious lapse of judgement, said Hipkins.

Hipkins revealed Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni will become the Workplace Relations and Safety Minister and the Minister for Auckland, Andrew Little will become the Immigration Minister, David Parker will become the Transport Minister and Kiri Allan will be the Associate Minister of Finance.

The Prime Minister also made several changes to the conflict of interest management for MPs. 

Wood is yet to speak publicly since his resignation.