Cunliffe to retire

The Herald reports:

Labour MP is retiring from politics.

Cunliffe told caucus of his decision today.

Labour leader Andrew Little said Cunliffe intended to step down next year, likely within six months of the next election to avoid triggering a byelection in his New Lynn electorate.

Cunliffe was taking up a role at the Auckland-based management consultancy Stakeholder Strategies Ltd.

“He has made a strong contribution to the party as the MP for New Lynn since 1999 and as a former leader and finance spokesperson,” Little said.

“He was a Cabinet Minister in the Fifth Labour Government where he held the portfolios of Health, and Information and Communications Technology, and Immigration.”

Cunliffe has been an MP since 1999 in the Titirangi and New Lynn seats.

This is not a surprise.

The leadership was not suited to Cunliffe, but I believe he could have been a very good Labour Minister of Finance. He has one of the strongest business backgrounds of any MP.

He was also a very good Comms and ICT Minister in the Clark Government.

Little demoted him to the back bench after becoming leader and made it clear he did not expect Cunliffe to be in any Cabinet he led.

His departure opens a chance for another MP in the historically safe Labour seat of New Lynn, although in 2014 Cunliffe’s majority had dropped to 4,557 and National was beating Labour in the party vote.

It would be difficult, but not impossible to win New Lynn. Alfred Ngaro is very well regarded.

I wish David well in his career outside politics. Always enjoyed working with him when he was a Minister and have admired his abilities, even if disagreeing with his politics.

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