8 Aug 2017

VIDEO: Ardern stands behind decision to exclude Turei

9:26 am on 8 August 2017

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern says she stands by her decision to rule out Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei from a Cabinet job in a Labour-Green government.

Ms Ardern spoke to Morning Report's Susie Ferguson:

Mrs Turei announced on Friday she would not resign but would not take a ministerial position if Labour and the Greens won this year's election.

It came in the wake of her admissions that she lied to Work and Income in the 1990s, so her benefit would not be cut, and that she enrolled to vote in 1993 in an electorate she did not live in.

She said Labour did not pressure her into the decision to give up being a minister. She had made up her mind before hearing its decision.

Yesterday evening two long-standing MPs threatened to resign unless Mrs Turei stood down. The pair, Kennedy Graham and David Clendon, face ejection from the party at a caucus meeting today.

On Friday, Ms Ardern said she would not be happy to have Mrs Turei in her cabinet.

She told Morning Report this morning she stood by that decision.

She made sure the Greens knew her position before she shared it publicly, but did not know if that had an impact on Mrs Turei's decision to rule herself out.

She would not say if she thought Labour would take votes off the Greens as a result, saying she would be happy to get votes from anywhere.

"I wouldn't want to speculate on that, only time will tell. Voters make their own decisions."

Nothing had changed in the memorandum of understanding between Labour and the Greens because it was an agreement between parties, not individuals, she said.

All the main political parties had taken their own beatings in the past week or so, Ms Ardern said.

"National, I don't think, would be comfortable where they are, answering questions about [Clutha-Southland MP] Todd Barclay. We weren't in a great space a week ago, let's be honest.

"This does happen to political parties from time to time."

She said she hoped voters would not let the issue override what they wanted for the future of New Zealand.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs