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Labour MP Clare Curran to step down at the 2020 election

Author
Jason Walls - NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 27 August 2019, 1:03PM
Labour MP Clare Curran has announced she will not re-stand at the 2020 election. Photo / ODT
Labour MP Clare Curran has announced she will not re-stand at the 2020 election. Photo / ODT

Labour MP Clare Curran has announced she will not re-stand at the 2020 election, closing a twelve year career in Parliament.

It comes a year after she was sacked from Cabinet and stripped of her open government portfolios after not disclosing a meeting set up using her personal email account.

She will remain in the Dunedin South seat until the election.

"It's been an honour to represent the people of Dunedin South over the past 12 years and I will continue to do so as strongly as I always have through to the 2020 election," Curran said in a statement this afternoon.

She would have been in Parliament 12 years next year.

"I feel now is the time to move on to other pursuits," she said.

"I've loved every minute of representing the people of Dunedin South and I will miss the local electorate issues enormously."

"I've always preferred to battle for the ordinary people who all too often struggle to be heard above the clamour of those with more resources and a louder voice."

Labour Party Leader Jacinda Ardern thanked Clare Curran for her service.

"I came into Parliament at the same time as Clare and got to know her really well over the years," Ardern, who is also the Prime Minister, said.

"You'd be hard pressed to find someone more genuine and passionate about the work she did on public broadcasting, technology issues and as a representative for the place she loved – South Dunedin."

"I want to thank Clare. She put a spotlight on issues others ignore and was totally people focused. I wish her the best for her next endeavours," Ardern said.

Curran said she had been a vocal advocate for the return of rail engineering to Dunedin at the Hillside workshops and highlighted South Dunedin's vulnerability to extreme weather events and rising sea level, making it a priority for local government.

"I'm enormously grateful for the opportunities I've had, first as an opposition MP and then in Government as a Minister."

"I thank the Labour Party for the privilege of being a member of a strong, talented, united and forward thinking caucus, led by a friend and a compassionate leader who is true to her values."

Curran was the Minister of Broadcasting until she resigned from Cabinet this time last year.

She was stripped of her open government portfolios after not disclosing a meeting set up using her personal email account.

The February 2018 meeting with entrepreneur Derek Handley was over his interest in the vacant Chief Technology Officer role.

It was held at 8pm in Curran's Beehive office with nobody else present, and was not put in her diary.

The next month Curran responded to a written question from National but failed to disclose the meeting.

It was her second strike, after a similar omission in relation to a meeting with former Radio NZ boss Carol Hirschfeld earlier that year.

"Clare Curran contacted me last night to confirm her wish to resign as a minister and I accepted that resignation," Ardern said at the time.

"Clare has come to the view the issues currently surrounding her are causing an unacceptable distraction for the Government and immense pressure on her personally," she said

"I agree with her assessment that resigning is the best course of action for the Government and for her."

In the statement released today, Curran said she was "forever grateful" to the local Labour members and activists who worked for more than a decade to put her in Parliament.

"I'm looking forward to what comes next, whatever that may be," Clare Curran said.

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