Stuart Nash poked fun at the cabinet downgrade in a social media post

Under fire Labor Secretary Stuart Nash will not let his sense of humor be dampened as the Prime Minister gives him a final warning and demoted him to the last Cabinet ranking.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Nash made one of his first public comments about his demotion while celebrating his daughter Sophia’s success at the Lawn Tennis Senior Championship in Hawke’s Bay.

“Well at least one of the Nashes had a good week!!” Nash joked.

Nash has declined media interviews after Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Napier MP had received his final warning over his breaches of the Cabinet Handbook by making inappropriate comments.

The controversy began on Wednesday when Stuart Nash said on Newstalk ZB he reached out to Police Commissioner Andrew Coster in 2021 to ask if police would appeal a court decision he felt was not harsh enough.

The case involved a man charged with gun offenses who was placed under house arrest. Nash had previously been Minister of Police but was not at the time of the call.

Nash questioned the judge’s decision on Wednesday, saying the judiciary needs to “read the room” on crime.

When confronted by reporters later on Wednesday about his comments, Nash said he was simply “chewing the fat” with his “pal,” Coster. He also defended his comments on the judge’s decision.

The Cabinet Handbook, a document outlining how ministers should act, states that ministers “should not express views which are likely to be made public if they might be considered to reflect negatively on a judge’s impartiality, personal views or ability .

READ :  UNESCO boss calls for stricter regulation of social media

“By a long-established principle, ministers do not comment on or participate in investigations of crime or in deciding whether a person should be prosecuted or on what charges.”

Stuart Nash has been demoted to the lowest rank in Chris Hipkins’ cabinet. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Act Party was the first to call for Nash’s resignation. National joined that call upon hearing about Nash’s second round of comments.

This led to Nash resigning as Minister of Police, an action Hipkins said he would have pushed through had Nash not voluntarily resigned, as he did.

Hipkins described Nash’s comments as a “serious error of judgement,” but confirmed he would remain in his other portfolios: economic development, oceans and fisheries, forestry and regional cyclone response leadership for Hawke’s Bay.

The following day, Newstalk ZB announced that the Attorney General had considered criminal prosecution of Nash for disregard for public statements he made following the arrest of Eli Epiha in the case of the murder of Police Officer Matthew Hunt.

Hipkins continued to support Nash and said the incident was historic, but Hipkins then announced on Friday that it had become aware of a third incident in which Nash approached an official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Employment about an immigration case, involving a healthcare professional.

Although Hipkins was confident that this incident was of no personal benefit to Nash, “Nash did not use the established procedure for ministers and MPs to argue in an immigration case.

“Having considered the thresholds used by previous Prime Ministers, I have decided that the appropriate punishment is to demote Stuart Nash and give him a final warning,” Hipkins said.

READ :  Darwin Nunez offers Liverpool a rare bright spark to defy social media mockery

It meant Nash dropped from 11th to 20th on the party list.

“This demotion reflects both his poor judgment and his failure to bring these past cases to my attention,” Hipkins said.

“I have repeated this point to him and made it clear that any further omissions will result in his dismissal as Minister.

“As I have said, his actions reflect poor judgment, but the specifics of each incident do not warrant dismissal.”