Peter Dunne calls time on his political career

Another leader stepping down- this time it’s Peter Dunne who has decided not to stand again this election, meaning the end of his 33 year career as an MP.

He has served in four different Governments, two National led and two Labour led, and has served under seven Prime Ministers.

He had many critics and detractors and his style was not very modern, but he was widely regarded as a hard working and effective electorate MP, and was the most successful MP over time under MMP.

It seems certain that his United Future party will retire with him.

There has been some genuine comments from some politicians and others, and a lot of awful an uninformed criticism.

Statement from Hon Peter Dunne

“The current political environment is extremely volatile and unpredictable. However, I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ōhāriu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter. This shift in voter sentiment is quite at variance with polling and other data I have seen throughout the year, upon which I had based my earlier decision to seek re-election for a 12th term as MP for Ōhāriu. While I am naturally extremely disappointed after 33 years of service at this apparent change of feeling, I recognise and understand it, and respect absolutely the electorate’s prerogative to feel that way.

“I have therefore decided that it is time for me to stand aside, so the people of Ōhāriu can elect a new electorate MP. Consequently, after much consideration and discussion with those closest to me, I am announcing today that I will not be putting forward my nomination for election to the next Parliament. I do so with considerable reluctance, but I have always understood that holding public office is a temporary privilege granted by the people, and can never be taken for granted.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the Ōhāriu electorate in its various forms since 1984. I thank my constituents, my supporters, my Party, and all those staff members who have worked so loyally and professionally alongside me over the years, but above all, I pay huge thanks to my wife Jennifer, my sons, James and Alastair, raised in the heat of politics, and my entire family for their loyal support, patience and encouragement for so long.

“I am especially proud to have worked alongside successive National- and Labour-led Governments in the collaborative environment of MMP, and to have had the privilege of serving as first an Under-Secretary and then a Minister under seven different Prime Ministers for just on fifteen years. I am very proud of the many changes I have been able to make in my portfolios over the years to make New Zealand a better place in which to live and raise a family.

“Over the last three years alone, I have been very pleased to lead the work to modernise New Zealand’s drug policy towards a stronger health focus; and to make fluoridation of drinking water more widespread. I was delighted to establish Fire and Emergency New Zealand which unified our urban and rural fire services in the biggest reform of our fire services in 70 years. I was also very pleased to have been able to bring back 10 year passports. The D5 group of the world’s most digitally advanced nations meets in New Zealand early next year. Having overseen New Zealand help form the D5 group in 2014, I will be very sorry not to be chairing that meeting. Lastly, I have enjoyed being part of the continuing drive to make the taonga of the National Library and the National Archives more widely available to all New Zealanders.

“Ōhāriu has been a very large part of my life. I have lived continuously in the area for more than forty years. Jennifer and I raised our family in Ōhāriu. It is our home. Working for the community and its people over the last 33 years has, at all times, been an absolute delight. I will miss hugely that direct engagement with so many aspects of the life of our community, and I will never forget the huge honour Ōhāriu gave me by electing me, first as a young 30 year old, and then for the next ten elections after that.

“But good things cannot last forever. Now it is time for me to put all that behind me, take the election hoardings down, say goodbye to Parliament without bitterness or regret, and get on with life.

“Finally, my thanks and best wishes for the future go to Brett Hudson MP, National’s List MP based in Ōhāriu, for the support he has shown me throughout this year.”

This is a typically pragmatic decision. Dunne has plenty of experience at reading the mood of his electorate.

It looked quite likely he would lose the electorate, so not standing avoids not just a defeat but the vacating of his office under the shadow of a loss.

If Dunne managed to retain his seat he faced being shut out of government by Labour, or by Winston Peters.

Going now on his own terms look like the least worst option for him.

RNZ has a good career summary:  Dunne: A great survivor finally runs out of support

Ignorant criticism was especially prevalent on drug issues. Russell Brown covers reality well at The Spinoff: Peter Dunne, the flawed reformer


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  1. Brown

     /  21st August 2017

    Working for the community and its people over the last 33 years … Pffft.

    He did it for the money – like most of them. I feel sorry for the National candidate and some credit to O’Çonnor for his wise and mature tongue when questioned about the matter today.

  2. Strong For Life

     /  21st August 2017

    Good riddance. Dunne was a political prostitute, a one-man band, who sold himself to the highest bidder at each election. His handling of the synthetic cannabis, natural high, was a disgrace and he has blood on his hands.

    • His handling of things was relatively good around synthetics….. a massive media beat up on it once availability was ghettoed to certain shops. The folk dropping dead now wouldn’t have happened under the PSA.

  3. now perhaps we might get some honest debate on drugs ?
    Not just B-S/misinfo. fed by big-pharma & booze/tobacco lobbyists etc.

    Dunne tried to say he was pro-reform , but ‘constrained by the Natz’. BUT if so, why did he promote synthetics.. even saying they were low risk, but not the natural herb, which he refused to include in Psychoactive Substance act (but now making these noises, too little, too late !)

    I tautoko above; “Good riddance !”

  4. Be careful what you wish for, we may have a national MP performing this role in short order….

    • @SLB

      fingers crossed; change of Govt. coming.. perhaps a change of direction on drug policy (esp. medicinal herb) 🙂

  5. RRM

     /  22nd August 2017

    A true man of principles.

    They may be Labour Party principles, or they may be National Party principles, he will agree with them all, just as long as his snout remains in the deep end of the trough.

    A Minister ever since 1990… a Minister’s salary is currently at least $243k. You’re welcome Peter.

    Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrreeeee piggy piggy piggy piggy piggy! Feeding time piggy!

    • That’s a petty and shitty comment. And wrong.

      Dunne became a Minister in 1990 but that didn’t last long because Labour lost later in the year.

      He was a minister briefly again from 1996. I don’t think he became a minister again until 2005.

      If he hadn’t been a minister someone else would have been paid to be one.

    • RRM

       /  24th August 2017

      I happened to hear him on Red Radio yesterday and he certainly came across as a good bastard, and far more genuine than a lot of the current crop.
      It must be a relief when you finally step out of that game…?


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