The transport minister’s Auckland Airport shares saga continues

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 9, 2023

Michael Wood was stood down as transport minister by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins earlier this week following revelations he failed to correctly declare his Auckland Airport shares.

Wood had been told to sell the shares 12 separate times over the past two years by the Cabinet office.

It has been revealed that Michael Wood’s shareholding in the Airport was raised three times with former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office – which was wrongly told he had sold them.

The requests came from November 19 2020, with the latest one coming on March 27 2023.

Wood said yesterday he had now sold the airport shares for the sum of $16,000, which he said he will donate to charity.

Wood also blocked the bid of North Shore Airport to have Airport Authority status, in what could be seen as competition to Auckland Airport.

The prime minister said he was satisfied Wood’s shareholding in Auckland Airport did not play any role in the decision.

The suspended transport minister will now face a formal inquiry by Registrar of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament, Sir Maarten Wevers, to determine whether he had broken Parliament’s rules around disclosing assets and other financial interests, after a request from National MP Chris Penk.

Hipkins had said earlier in the week that Wood would return to his transport role once the shares were sold to avoid any conflict of interest. However, the Prime Minister had not yet made further decisions about whether Wood will return to the role.

However, the opposition is calling for Wood to resign or be fired, with National deputy leader Nicola Willis saying he should be sacked from all his portfolios.

“He should be fired,” Willis said after Question Time on Wednesday.

“He has effectively thumbed his nose at the Cabinet Office for two and a half years as they have begged him to get rid of his shares.”

Kieran McAnulty is currently serving as acting transport minister.