The Herald reports:
Labour leader Phil Goff has announced that his MP Darren Hughes has been stood down from his portfolios while a police investigation into him is completed.
Mr Goff said Mr Hughes would remain in Parliament but he now expected the police inquiry to take longer than initially expected.
Mr Hughes’ jobs as education spokesman and senior whip will go to David Shearer and Steve Chadwick respectively.
This doesn’t mean Darren is finished as an MP. I don’t think enough information is available to jump to conclusions.
However losing these two roles was pretty inevitable. The senior whip is the maintainer of discipline in the caucus, and enough infomation has come out that would have made it very difficult to remain whip credibly.
The same goes for Education. This might be seen as unfair, but there is just no way you can go into an election with your proposed education minister being someone who picks up 18 year old first year students in bars (regardless of the issue of consent).
As I said, I don’t think one can conclude at this point about the wider career. I actually still have money in iPredict against Judith Tizard returning as an MP.
Of course it is possible that Hughes will resign, yet Tizard will not return as an MP. How? Two main possibilities.
- The House can resolve by 75% majority not to fill the vacancy, if it occurs within six months of the election – so after 26 May. You have to wonder though why National would decide to vote to keep Tizard from returning, and also is Labour really prepared to have one less MP in the House, than have Judith return?
- Judith could refuse to take up her seat.
The problem with no (2) is the next in lines. Tizard is ranked No 38. Next at 39 is Mark Burton, 40 is Mahara Okeroa, 41 is Martin Gallagher and 42 Dave Heroera. At 43 you have Louisa Wall who has been selected as candidate for Manurea so is going to become an MP anyway. But to get Louisa in, you’d need to convince five seperate former Labour MPs to turn down six months salary and perks.