Former corrections minister Sam Lotu-Iiga, who came under fire when allegations of fight clubs in a Serco-run prison surfaced, has announced he won’t run in next year’s election.
The MP for Maungakiekie was demoted in December last year when Judith Collins was reinstated in the Corrections portfolio.
Lotu-Iiga said the job had been “immensely challenging” and it’s one that is “taxing on families and your personal relationships”.
In a statement on Tuesday he said it had been “an absolute honour and a privilege to serve the people of Maungakiekie and to be part of the John Key and National-led Government”.
He told media he’d been thinking about stepping down for about two months and had planned to do so last week but delayed it after former Prime Minister John Key made his shock announcement. He told Prime Minister Bill English late last week that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election.
“I enjoyed the job, certainly there were challenges and a lot of issues that came up but at the same time you serve New Zealanders and try and improve their well being and I think we’ve achieved that as a government and I’ve achieved that as a minister.”
Sam entered Parliament in 2008 by winning a seat off Labour and has defended it in both 2011 and 2014. It is only a 2,348 majority so will be competitive in 2017. Sam would have kept the seat I am sure, but will now be in play.
Sam is a genuinely nice guy who will be a loss to National. But his family will be looking forward to having him around more, and I am sure will be snapped up by his former law firm or better.