Andrew Little has revealed why he’s quitting politics.
Speaking to Breakfast this morning, Little said he probably would’ve stayed if Labour won the election, but he may not have lasted the full term.
“I would rather those who wish to stick around have the opportunity to do so if by stepping aside, at least one more of them gets to stay then that sets the Labour Party up for next time it’s in government.”
“I came in thinking I’d do four or five terms in Parliament, I’m not one think you should be hanging round for the rest of your life.
“I think democracy requires change and regeneration and renewal and parties need that.”
Asked when he started thinking about his resignation, Little said he’s been following the polls for the past eight to nine months.
“The reality is, they didn’t shift a lot so I started thinking about options during the course of the campaign.”
He said you’ve got to “be quite honest with yourself” when thinking about the prospect of National winning.
“For me the important thing is the strength of the Labour Party through its highs and lows, and preparing for the next phase.”
Asked if Chris Hipkins has the support of his party to stay on as leader, Little said he “absolutely” does.
“He does, and that’s been overwhelming throughout the course of the campaign and since Saturday night, and he certainly has my support while I’m still in caucus.
“I think Chris has really acquitted himself so well this year, he had to step up at a really difficult time. Pretty much from day one of his leadership he’s had to deal with crises, Cyclone Gabrielle, the change in economic conditions, and he’s led the party and the country through that, and he is the right person to lead the party through its regeneration phase.”
Little is perhaps most famous for stepping aside during the 2017 election campaign to allow deputy Jacinda Ardern to become leader of the Labour Party – an election the party ultimately went on to win.
It followed a shock interview on TVNZ shortly before where Little admitted he had considered standing down due to Labour’s poor polling at the time.
In a statement yesterday, Little said he was grateful for the opportunities his country and party had given him to serve the community.
“With the party going into opposition it’s important to give those who will form the Seventh Labour Government every opportunity to home their skills and cement a strong team.
“Labour stands 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.
“There are no words to adequately thank my wife and son, and the many others who have given unwavering support throughout my time in politics.
“The labour movement is bigger than any caucus or parliamentary term, and bigger than any individual,” he said.
Little expects to return to law.
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