National | Kiritapu Allan

‘Brilliant job’: Prominent Tai Rāwhiti voices heap praise on Kiri Allan

The work of former justice minister Kiri Allan has been praised by a number of prominent Tai Rāwhiti voices in the aftermath of her political career falling apart.

On Monday, Allan resigned from her ministerial portfolios after an incident the night before resulted in her being charged with careless driving and refusing to accompany a police officer.

Yesterday, she announced she would not be seeking re-election in October, expressing remorse at failing “all those that put their trust and confidence in me”.

But key players in Tai Rāwhiti have sung the praises of the two-term MP.

Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz said Allan had served the community tirelessly since entering Parliament in 2017.

“Over this time, Kiri has walked alongside us at council through several severe weather events and five states of emergency,” Stoltz said.

“We’re very grateful for Kiri’s hard work, and we wish her the absolute best through this tough time.

“Our whole community is thinking of her.”

Tokomaru Bay Civil Defence coordinator Lillian Te Hau-Ward echoed that sentiment, saying a large section of the community was “devastated” for a minister who had been a big support in times of emergency.

Te Hau-Ward said Allan was always on the ground quickly, and recalled her sitting on the veranda at a local nanny’s house after a severe weather event.

“It brought a sense of calm and awareness that actually, ministers do care,” she said.

“We remain supportive of her because she’s always been there for us.”

Tai Rāwhiti Civil Defence group controller Ben Green described Allan’s leadership as exemplary.

He said she was relatable and genuine, which reflected in the leadership qualities that led to her having a number of ministerial roles.

“We’ve reaped the benefit from the work she has done, which has been part of the transformation of the Civil Defence sector,” he said.

Allan also found favour in the storm-hit rural sector.

Rural Coordination Group chairperson Sandra Faulkner said Allan had championed the region, while remaining accessible.

“Kiri has walked alongside this region, and has certainly been there for us through so many weather events,” Faulkner said.

“She has always been willing to discuss with me the needs of our isolated farming families.”

Federated Farmers meat and wool chairperson Toby Williams said the former minister had performed well in cyclone recovery while remaining a good voice for the region.

“It was critical for the region to have a strong voice in Cabinet and she really did a brilliant job,” he said.

Wairoa mayor Craig Little previously told RNZ Allan’s departure would leave a big void.

Little said Allan had always made herself available to help his region, even though she was not its MP.

Allan will remain in Parliament until October’s election, with her portfolios distributed amongst existing ministers.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Local Democracy Reporting