Iain Lees-Galloway sacked over office affair
Iain Lees-Galloway has been dismissed as a government minister after having a 12-month "inappropriate" affair with a former staffer
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has been sacked from Cabinet by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after being involved in a consensual relationship with a former staffer.
Lees-Galloway will also resign from Parliament at the election, after National leader Judith Collins passed on allegations made against the minister to Ardern, following the departure of National's Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon over his own alleged misbehaviour.
Ardern told media she had received information about her minister being involved in a consensual but inappropriate relationship with an employee in one of his agencies.
She had spoken with Lees-Galloway on Tuesday evening and he had confirmed the relationship, leading the Prime Minister to inform him that his position as a minister was untenable.
"This is the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, I expect behaviour to be modelled here that is appropriate."
Ardern said Lees-Galloway had informed her he would leave Parliament entirely at the election following his dismissal as a minister.
Kris Faafoi would take over as Immigration Minister, Carmel Sepuloni as ACC Minister, and Andrew Little as Workplace Relations and Safety Minister.
In a brief written statement, Lees-Galloway said he accepted Ardern's decision "and apologise absolutely".
"I have acted completely inappropriately in my position and cannot continue as a minister," he said, apologising to his family and "to anyone who has been hurt by my actions".
On Wednesday morning, Collins told Newshub she had been sent information relating to allegations against a Labour minister, which she had passed on to Ardern.
"I spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday as we were coming out of Question Time. I asked to speak to her and I said I had received such a tip-off and I did not want to receive any information on it," Collins told Newshub.
"I would be asking the person to send it directly to her. She has provided me with an email address for that and that has been passed onto the person who contacted me. I don't want to engage in this."
The tip came after National's Falloon resigned from Parliament, following allegations he sent explicit images to multiple women without their consent.
Falloon initially announced he would leave at the election and cited mental health issues, but Collins pushed him to leave immediately as it became clear his behaviour was not an isolated incident.
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