Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Minister Little leaves big shoes to fill

Long-serving Minister and former Labour Party leader, Andrew Little, has today announced his retirement from politics.

Mr Little, who first entered Parliament in 2011, said he was grateful for the opportunities which had been afforded to him during his public service career.

“You need ego in politics but you also need humanity. You need self-awareness and you need to know that when it’s not working then you’ve got to let others, who you have confidence can do the job, to step up,” Mr Little told media today.

Mr Little said he would step aside to give Labour the best opportunity “to hone their skills and cement a strong team” in opposition and for future governance.

“I think it’s important for the party to straightaway start to build the talent that it needs for the seventh Labour government. Labour has had two incredible intakes in 2017 and 2020. There’s a huge depth of talent – some of whom won’t be part of the 54th parliament but may well be interested in coming back after that,” he said.

“By me stepping aside, it’ll make room for at least one more. But I think it also expresses my view that the party now needs to think not just about what opposition looks like, but what the next government looks like and identify the faces for that. And I am not the face of the seventh Labour government.

He said that despite the election result at the weekend, the Labour party stood for the fundamental values of millions of New Zealanders, “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, opportunities for the many not just the few, and respect for all people and communities.”

Labour leader and outgoing Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins paid tribute to his colleague, who he said had shown an enormous amount of humility, team spirit and commitment to the wider cause.

Newly appointed Labour leader Andrew Little speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House on November 18, 2014 in Wellington.

“He has been an outstanding minister for six years,” said Mr Hipkins. “He led the Labour party through a really difficult period after the 2014 election, I want to pay absolute tribute to the enormous contribution that he has made as a member of our team.”

Mr Little has held the portfolios of Health, Justice, Immigration, Treaty Negotiations, Public Service, Defence, Courts, Workplace Relations, Pike River Re-entry, in addition to the handling of the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission’s Report into the Terrorist Attack on the Christchurch Mosques.

“I know it’s a cliché, but being a minister is just an extraordinary privilege. I’ve had a lot of portfolios, I’ve enjoyed every single one of them,” he said today.

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