Dover Samuels

  • Helen Clark
Prime Minister

The Minister cannot be effective in his job in a flagship government programme while allegations, controversy, and public debate swirl around him.

I take no pleasure in this decision. Dover Samuels has been a member of the Labour Party for a long time.

But in the end what I must put first is his ability to do his job in the light of what is happening and will continue to happen.

Mr Samuels has had every opportunity to assess the situation for himself and offer his resignation. He has not done that. I understand why he has not, but in my view that is not an acceptable position.

I am not prepared to see this matter slow the government and its programme to close the gaps any longer.

No-one likes the way in which this matter has been raised, or the political attack which motivated that. But in the end, I must deal with reality. The reality is that the events around Dover Samuels will distract the government from one of its most important programmes as long as he is minister.

I am not prepared to let that happen. Last week allegations were put in the public arena about teenage pregnancy and the issue of the imbalance of power in a relationship. Today there are allegations of an abusive relationship, and assault, and a threat to shoot.

I would have preferred this decision to wait until the outcome of the police investigation. But whatever the outcome my decision would have been the same.

This is bigger than Mr Samuels and his reputation which he is determined to defend. His defence of it as one allegation after another surfaces endangers the very mission he says he came to Parliament to pursue.

That is why this decision is being announced today.