The suspended Transport Minister’s family trust holds shares in Chorus, Spark and the National Australia Bank
Michael Wood has resigned as a minister following revelations of further undisclosed shareholdings.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told media this afternoon he had become aware of shareholdings Wood held in the JM Fairey Family Trust of which he is both a trustee and a beneficiary. These are additional to the $13,000 in undisclosed shares he held in Auckland Airport.
“These new shareholdings raise significant concerns around Michael not identifying and managing potential and real conflicts of interest. In particular, the trust holds shares in Chorus, Spark and the National Australia Bank,” Hipkins said.
“As Minister of Immigration, Michael made the decision to include telecommunications technicians on the immigration Green List. This followed representations from the telecommunications industry, including Chorus, seeking those changes to the Green List.”
A shareholding in National Australia Bank – BNZ’s parent company – was also not disclosed in any conversations with Cabinet.
“Despite repeated requests from the Cabinet Office and myself for Michael to manage his shareholdings, he has repeatedly failed to identify, disclose and appropriately manage conflicts of interest.”
After standing Wood down as Transport Minister, Hipkins said he asked him for any other relevant information and was told there was none.
It had become evident that Wood not adequately managing his airport shares was not an isolated incident, and it was therefore “not appropriate” for him to continue as a minister.
Wood had shown a serious lack of judgment, and Hipkins found the episode “deeply frustrating”.
“I don’t accept that it was something that he just didn’t get to.”
Wood’s portfolios would be distributed among other senior ministers and the Government would be introducing quarterly reports on MPs’ potential conflicts of interest.
Wood was stood down as Transport Minister and investigated by a parliamentary inquiry early this month after it emerged he had not declared shares in Auckland Airport worth about $13,000.
He had purchased the shares as a teenager in the 1990s, and was stood down after failing to declare them in the public register of MPs’ assets and other interests until 2022.