Katherine Rich puts family before politics in her decision to stand down

  • 13/02/2008

National’s Katherine Rich has dropped a bombshell with her party, deciding to quit Parliament after the elections.

She was destined to be a minister should National win the general election later this year, but instead the former education spokesperson wants to spend more time with her children.

”It was going to be real tough to do that without impacting on the kids’ lives,” Katherine Rich said. “I know I could do it, it was my dream, but sometimes you have got to be fair and realistic about the other things you have in your life.”

Ms Rich, a mother of two, believes she could have coped with a minister’s role and says there is no hidden reason for her exit. Ms Rich says she is happy with National’s direction.

”I’m proud of the role I’ve had here over nine years of public service,” she said. “I’m proud of what I’ve done and so I’m going to leave with my head held high, having fought the good fight.”

The 40-year-old has been in Parliament since 1999. She was tipped as the young, moderate face to help the right to win with female vote.

”The reality is she’s a great person and a great loss to us as a party,” National leader John Key said. “But we have no option when someone puts their family ahead of politics but to accept that.”

”I think she has made a good public contribution to debate on eduction,” Prime Minister Helen Clark said. “I haven’t always agreed with her, I’ve seen her as someone at the liberal end of the National party. The National party needs such people and I think she will be a tremendous loss.”

Ms Rich was dumped as National’s welfare spokesperson by former leader Don Brash, because she did not agree with his Orewa speech, while in 2001 she breastfed her baby in Parliament’s debating chamber.

Katherine Rich is known for her staunch views on education and has knocked heads with older members of the National party for opposing ideas like bulk funding.

The Government says her exit now leaves the door open for more traditional right wing policy.

East Coast MP Anne Tolley will take over Ms Rich’s role as education spokesperson.



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source: newshub archive