Former Justice Minister Kiri Allan's trial date set for May

Former Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan is set to appear at the Wellington District Court in May.
Former Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan is set to appear at the Wellington District Court in May. Photo credit: RNZ / Angus Dreaver.

Former Justice Minister Kiri Allan is set to face a judge-alone trial in May.

Allan pleaded not guilty last year to charges of careless driving and failing to accompany a police officer, after she crashed into a parked car.

She will face a judge-alone trial at Wellington District Court on 22 May, the court confirmed on Friday.

She resigned from Cabinet after the crash, having also tested at an infringement level on an alcohol breath test - a lower-level offence that attracts a fine.

As the MP for East Coast, she also chose not to seek re-election.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins at the time said the crash followed Allan's struggles with mental health, which had left her in a state of "extreme emotional distress".

She later said the refusal to accompany an officer was because she had requested to speak to a lawyer first but this was denied, and she was pleading not guilty to test a legal grey area in the courts.

In interviews with 1News and the NZ Herald published on Friday, Allan has opened up about the night of the crash.

She said she had been in an erratic state of mind.

She then drove to someone's house after a few beers.

"I was seeking probably solace in just some people," she told the Herald. "It was a pretty intense evening. You make a series of decisions - I made a series of decisions. You regret them for a lifetime."

Allan has since set up a consultancy business and is doing work with her iwi, and spoke about living a more peaceful life now - taking time to reconnect with her daughter.

She also spoke about the difficulty of having to publicly support a tougher stance on youth offenders, a rhetorical shift after Hipkins took over as prime minister from Jacinda Ardern.

"I made the active decision to go through with those policy decisions that didn't necessarily align with my own personal values," she said.

Hipkins on Friday said Allan had worked very hard in her time at Parliament, taking part in sometimes difficult discussions.

"Kiri Allan was an incredibly hard working Member of Parliament and her contributions to the New Zealand Labour Party were integral," he said.

"There are many discussions had around the cabinet table and not all of them are easy. We continue to support MPs to do their best work, and are heartened to see Kiri is doing well."