Government Minister Meka Whaitiri will stand aside from her portfolios while an investigation is carried out into a staffing matter in her office.

It is understood that Whaitiri has been stood down as the result of an alleged incident during a heated argument with a staff member.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had accepted Whaitiri's offer to stand aside while the investigation was done.

While the matter, which has not been disclosed, was being investigated, Kris Faafoi would act as Customs Minister.

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Whaitiri's Associate Minister responsibilities in Agriculture, Local Government and Crown/Māori Relations would revert to the lead portfolio ministers.

"Meka Whaitiri has told me she will be fully co-operating with the investigation, which will be thorough and conducted as quickly as possible," Ardern said in a statement.

Ardern and Whaitiri, who is a Minister outside Cabinet, said they would not comment further, citing privacy reasons, while the investigation was carried out by Ministerial Services.

The Minister's had a high staff turnover since she was appointed with at least five staff members moving on since she got the job less than a year ago.

Jacinda Ardern was advised of the staffing matter last night. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Jacinda Ardern was advised of the staffing matter last night. Photo / Mark Mitchell

It is the second Labour Government Minister within a week to fall, with Clare Curran demoted from Cabinet and losing two portfolios last Friday over her mishandling of a meeting with entrepreneur Derek Handley.

It was strike two for Curran after she failed to disclose a late-night Beehive meeting with Handley over the chief technology officer role.

Curran did not diary the meeting and no staff were present. She also failed to mention the meeting in response to written questions.

Former RNZ executive Carol Hirschfeld lost her job after she and Curran met at a Wellington cafe, a meeting they described as coincidental when it had been arranged.

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While the matter is being investigated Kris Faafoi will be the Acting Minister of Customs.Photo / Mark Mitchell
While the matter is being investigated Kris Faafoi will be the Acting Minister of Customs.Photo / Mark Mitchell

Whaitiri was elected to Parliament in 2013 in a byelection in the Māori seat of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, succeeding her former boss Labour's Parekura Horomia.