Claims the current Government is the "most chaotic Cabinet this country has ever seen" are ridiculous, says Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
The past 24 hours have been a turbulent and testing time for Hipkins, who on Monday was forced to make another Cabinet reshuffle after the resignation of senior minister Kiri Allan - who's facing charges following a car crash in Wellington on Sunday night.
During a press conference on Monday, Hipkins told reporters he believed Labour could still win the next election.
But the latest resignation has drawn many questions about the ability of Hipkins' Cabinet to govern. During the reshuffle, it was also revealed David Parker would relinquish the Revenue portfolio, less than two weeks after Hipkins killed off a proposed tax switch - a decision Parker has admitted being "disappointed" by.
Mana MP Barbara Edmonds now takes the Revenue portfolio as Labour prepares to announce its long-awaited tax policy.
"It's not a good look, isn't it, in the week that you're meant to announce your tax policy that your Revenue Minister basically resigns?" AM host Ryan Bridge asked Hipkins on Tuesday.
"The problem here is that you look like the most chaotic Cabinet this country's ever seen," he added.
Hipkins rejected those comments.
"Oh, that's ridiculous," he told Bridge. "I think that's absolutely ridiculous. Yes, we've dealt with some challenging things in the last few days but I don't want to trivialise the magnitude of what we've dealt with - particularly in the last 48 hours."
Bridge put it to Hipkins that it wasn't just the Allan saga but "everything else". Since he took over as Prime Minister following Jacinda Ardern's resignation earlier this year, Stuart Nash has been 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.
But Hipkins told Bridge he could "form whatever views you want".
"We'll be working hard over the next 80 days to earn the right to continue to govern the country," the Prime Minister said. "We'll be putting forward, I think, a very ambitious and optimistic view of New Zealand's future with some exciting things that I think people will see reflect the sort of future that we want as a country," he added.
However, right-leaning political commentator Trish Sherson wasn't convinced.
"The Government's in a very difficult position," she told AM, appearing before Hipkins.
"They've lost momentum and now they don't have the experience in Cabinet or with ministers to get out and sell policies on the campaign trail."
However, Victoria University political scientist Lara Greaves said October's election was still anyone's race.
"There's actually still quite a lot of voters that haven't made their minds up and they will over these next… 12 weeks so there's still a lot of road to run, and there's still a lot of things that could happen on either side."