Election 2023: Labour 'absolutely' under increased pressure amid ministerial scandals, Peter Dunne says

A former MP says Labour is "absolutely" under pressure ahead of election 2023 amid a string of ministerial scandals in the party's ranks.

Multiple Labour ministers have faced scandals since Chris Hipkins became Prime Minister earlier this year. Most recently, Kiri Allan was accused of aggressive behaviour towards staff. 

Hipkins told AM on Tuesday: "The feedback that I had, and it was conveyed through the media as well, was that the relevant employers of those staff members were satisfied that those issues were resolved at the time." 

The accusations against Allan were made public while Hipkins was overseas attending trade talks in China and he's also due to fly out to Europe on Friday. 

Former United Future leader Peter Dunne said the ongoing scandals were a sign of the Labour Government being under pressure.

"I've got no doubt that there will be ministers and MPs who will be in that caucus now counting the days, thinking, 'Well, I'm not going to be here for very much longer - what can I do in that time? What can I possibly do to advance my re-election prospects?

"There'll be frustration, there'll be anger and there'll be arguments about what that strategy might be.

"That's part and parcel of the whole process… every three years but it's certainly distracting from the Government's performance at the moment."

Dunne said Hipkins "doesn't really seem to be able to get on top of it".

"I think that will be concerning him as well."

David Seymour, the ACT Party leader, said earlier this week the allegations against Allan were astounding.

"What astonishes me is that in any organisation or workplace… if something like this is going wrong for over a year, as it's alleged, there's someone you can go to and say, 'Hey, look, something's not going right here.'"

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick told AM there were "deep, big issues" in Parliament, as highlighted by a 2019 probe into bullying in the Beehive

"We always stand with the victims when it comes to these situations but, once again… we don't know all the facts and I don't think it's particularly helpful for us to be speculating on that," Swarbrick said of the Allan allegations.

Allan is on leave after the most recent allegations she "yelled and screamed" at a senior public servant. However, no formal complaints have been made.

Since Hipkins took over as Prime Minister earlier this year, his Cabinet has been plagued by ministerial scandals. Before the allegations emerged against Allan, Stuart Nash was sacked for sharing confidential Cabinet information; Meka Whaitiri abandoned Hipkins' Labour Party for Te Pāti Māori; Michael Wood was forced to resign as a minister after failing to declare conflicts of interest; and Education Minister Jan Tinetti was ordered by the Privileges Committee to apologise to Parliament for negligence.   

Hipkins told AM on Tuesday he'd meet with Allan on his return from Europe.

"When somebody takes a bit of time off - particularly when they've been under a lot of pressure - that's something that I respect. I think that creating a good working environment means treating everybody with respect and that's what I intend to do."

Asked by AM host Ryan Bridge why he couldn't directly speak to Allan immediately, Hipkins made it clear he'd had some telephone conversations with his minister earlier this week.

Hipkins said he wasn't in a position to have an in-person conversation with Allan before his trip to Europe.

"Therefore, I'll reserve that conversation until I'm in the position to be able to do that."