New Zealand Cabinet Member Resigns Amid Scandal

By: AP
By: AP

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A top New Zealand politician has resigned from his Cabinet post amid a scandal in which he tried to help a female friend who was seeking compensation for an accident.

Nick Smith announced Wednesday that he is relinquishing his portfolios as minister for the environment, climate change and local government. Smith says he plans to remain in Parliament but without major responsibilities.

An emotional Smith told Parliament on Wednesday that in 2010 and 2011 he had signed two inappropriate letters in the case of Bronwyn Pullar, who was trying to claim compensation after suffering a bicycle accident. At the time, Smith oversaw the country's accident compensation scheme. Smith refused to elaborate on the nature of his relationship with Pullar.

AP-WF-03-21-12 0253GMT

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