No conflict of interest in receiving petition to strip Labour donor of knighthood - PM

By Talisa Kupenga

A company which lists Sir Bob Jones as a Director gave $25,000 in donations last year to the Labour Party, and just three months ago Labour's Kiritapu Allan received a petition to revoke him of his knighthood following a controversial article he wrote about Māori.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it's no problem a Labour MP received a petition to strip the knighthood of a party donor.

"We receive petitions all the time and I encourage members of the public to use one of what is our democratic tools we've already said while I did not particularly agree with the statements that he had made the threshold for removing knighthoods is a very high one."

Back in March Renae Maihi delivered a 68,000-signature petition to government received by Labour's Kiritapu Allan. Allan says it is a person's right to petition Parliament.

At the time Maihi told Te Kāea, "It is very important that Aotearoa and NZ take these words seriously and take the impact of racism seriously because it does impact people in their daily lives."

Last year Tirohanga Holdings Limited donated $25,000 to the Labour Party. It lists Robert Jones as a director and lists the same company address as Robert Jones Holdings Wellington where Sir Jones is Chairman. 

Ardern disputes there is any conflict of interest saying, “I would probably be more defensive against the statements if it was."

National Leader Simon Bridges says it's surprising but stands by his comments that people have a right to free speech even if they say stupid things.

"They're giving or taking with one hand and potentially criticising on the other," he says.

Since delivering the petition Maihi has been served defamation papers by Sir Jones for accusing him of hate speech.

Maihi's legal team and Sir Jones were yet to respond.