Kiri Allan back to Parliament for the mahi

Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan has returned from leave but more allegations about her behaviour toward staff have resurfaced, and National’s public service spokesman Simeon Brown is keeping the heat on her.

Allan says she has struggled with mental health issues for a "good part" of her adult life. "That’s something I try not to shy away from. That particular time I was feeling really rubbish and I couldn't really see how I was going to come out of a pretty poor space in my own head."

Allan returned to her full duties today but will receive extra coaching to support her to create the positive working environment she needs.

“The time of Matariki is a great time to just reflect on everything that’s been happening and I took the time out to do a little bit of that reflection. And absolutely, you want to create an environment where people love strapping their boots on to come to work,” Allan said.

'Wasting no time'

Allan acknowledges that in her work she sets high standards and high expectations for herself and her staff but that staff and officials must be treated with respect.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says Allan has wasted no time getting back into mahi.

"She was very active and fully contributing to the cabinet yesterday. She's had some time off and had a reset, and I have confidence that she is right back into it again.”

Labour’s Māori caucus chairman Willie Jackson says the MPs are happy to have her back and focused on her roles.

“She's been going through a hard time, and I appreciate that obviously the media has to ask some questions, and so I think the media has done that and we just want to get on with the mahi.”

National's Simeon Brown had sought to make public a message between department heads about Allan, as part of an Official Information Act request for information about Allan's conduct or behaviour.

'Feeling comfortable'

Brown says, “I've been asking questions around conflicts of interest as well, as you've seen around other ministers but in terms of Kiri Allan there were some concerns being raised. I asked some questions, the Ombudsman obviously said it was withheld, and we have accepted the Ombudsman's statement on that.”

Allan says that, in spite of all the challenges, "I am feeling comfortable to come back here to this place. There is much heaviness within my own community of the East Coast but now the wish of my home people is for me to return to work and continue to support them.”

Allan says she is absolutely passionate about her work and the difference she can make for her community and for Aotearoa.