Mapp retires

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp has announced his retirement from Parliament at the next election. Wayne has been MP for since 1996.

I think it is highly commendable that Wayne has chosen to get out when on top – he is in the Cabinet, and most would say he was highly likely to do a second term, if National is re-elected.

But rejuvenation is essential for a politicial party, and Wayne’s decision helps National achieve that. One of Labour’s key mistakes was that their second and third term ministries looked very similiar to their first term ministries.

Wayne is a former regional policy chair for the party, and in caucus served as policy convenor for several years.

Wayne is one of the class of 1996, and I recal him and Gerry often used to compare their majorities. Wayne’s 14,574 pips Gerry at 11,893. Of course Gerry always insists his seat is close to marginal 🙂

In hindsight 1996 was a tough year to enter Parliament. Conventional wisdom has it that the best year to enter Parliament is your final term in Opposition. That gives you a reasonable chance of making Cabinet in just three years – as Coleman, Guy and Wilkinson have done.

The worst year to enter is your final term in Government. You won’t make Cabinet in your first term, and then you have up to nine years in Opposition.

The class of 1996 were the first ones who entered Parliament after I started working there. They were a good bunch of people.

Not too many of the class of 1996 remain. Gerry is there. Pansy has just gone. Richard Worth went in 2009. Bob Simcock lost his seat in 2002, as did Belinda Vernon. Gavan Herlihy went in 2002 also. Georgina te Heuheu is still there as a List MP. Arthur Anae went in 1999, came back in 2000 and left again in 2002.

Anyway I wish Wayne well in his retirement at the end of next year. I’ve always enjoyed debating policy with him over the years – Wayne was also the first National MP to comment on the old Usenet Internet newsgroups. He’d be a very good appointment to institutions such as the Law Commission in future.

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