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McAnulty rumoured to be in line for police role

Labour MP Stuart Nash’s loss of the police portfolio may be Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty’s gain.

Nash resigned his police minister role after he outed himself for phoning Police Commissioner Andrew Coster to encourage him to appeal a sentence for firearm offences that Nash felt was too lenient.

Although Nash wasn’t police minister at the time, the opposition called for his resignation on the basis that the government is expected to remain independent from judicial and police prosecutorial decisions.

Megan Woods has been installed as acting police minister while Prime Minister Chris Hipkins decides on a permanent replacement. It’s understood the decision will be made by Monday at the latest.

McAnulty has been mentioned as one of two likely contenders for the role – along with Andrew Little – by Newshub political editor Jenna Lynch, who got the following response from McAnulty when she asked him about the prospect of the PM tapping him for the vacant position: “You don’t say no if these things are offered to you. But if he’s listening I’m quite happy with what I’ve got.”

Newsroom political editor Jo Moir has also picked Wairarapa’s MP as a strong candidate for the portfolio if Hipkins is looking for another “no-nonsense guy from the regions who says it like it is” like Nash, “but with less of the bluster”.

Asked by the Times-Age for a comment on the speculation, McAnulty noted in a statement, “I have the utmost respect for the police and the work they do for our communities. At this time, I’m busy with my emergency management and local government portfolios, so am not actively seeking additional work.”

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