Te Heuheu to quit the 'brutal game' of politics

  • Breaking
  • 10/05/2011

By Duncan Garner

Another one of John Key's ministers has announced she's quitting politics at the next election.

Georgina te Heuheu says it's time to spend more time with her family after 15 years in Parliament.

She sat down with 3 News political editor Duncan Garner this afternoon to talk about her exit and about the man who demoted her seven years ago – new ACT leader Don Brash.

"Am I sad to be leaving?" she asks. "Oh gosh, I probably think on the day that I'm leaving I'll think, do I really want to go home?"

But the answer is yes - she'll be the third minister in Mr Key's Government to quit at the next election. Her husband is not well, and she has a new two-month-old mokopuna – her first grandchild – so the time is right.

"I need family time, I need personal time, I need my time. I just hope they want to enjoy me too. They might say, 'Mum's coming home.'"

Ms te Heuheu was dumped in 2004 as National's Maori Affairs spokesperson. She disagreed with then leader Dr Brash's attack on what he called "Maori privilege" in his now infamous Orewa speech.

"I've always looked to be inclusive and tried to be inclusive, and I thought his position cut right across that."

Ms te Heuheu stayed with National – her family told her the Brash era will come and go – and they were right.

"Like every other person they looked at it and thought that's the next big thing and it will pass," she says.

Ms te Heuheu refuses to name Dr Brash in leaders she's admired – she says he belongs in ACT.

"That's probably where he rightly sits – on the extreme right."

Ms te Heuheu was chosen by the Tuwharetoa tribe in 1996 to come to Parliament. The tribe has a close relationship with National.

She won't miss the nasty side of politics.

"Politics is a brutal game and it pays no heed to what you may have going on outside this place," she says.

So Ms te Heuheu's time is nearly up – neither National or the tribe can yet answer whether a new face from Tuwharetoa will replace her.

3 News

source: newshub archive