Departing Labour MP Charles Chauvel says his decision to
resign to move to New York was not prompted by fear of his fate
in a looming reshuffle by leader David Shearer - and he would
have taken the job at the United Nations even if he was due for
promotion to the front bench.
Yesterday, Mr Chauvel announced he was resigning to work for
the United Nations in New York on a project which works with
emerging democracies to strengthen their systems.
Mr Chauvel was an ally of Mr Shearer's rival David Cunliffe
in the leadership contest in 2011 but denied he had decided
to go out of concern about his future within Labour because
of that support.
"David [Shearer] said to me his regret was that I wouldn't
now have the opportunity to take a senior role in a future
Labour Government. I thought that was a nice thing for him to
have said, and that is really the only discussion we've had
about future possibilities." Mr Shearer said Mr Chauvel would
be missed by Labour, but would "do New Zealand proud" in his
work at the UN.
The changeover is unlikely to affect his reshuffle, now
expected to take place in a week or so.
It is understood Mr Chauvel was not expected to be demoted -
but was also unlikely to get a front bench post.
Mr Chauvel said he would probably have taken the UN job even
if a front bench job was on offer.
He entered Parliament in 2006 - too late to become a minister
before Labour went into Opposition in 2008.
However, he believed he had done what he wanted to as
Labour's justice spokesman by shifting its policy to a less
"I've done as much as I'm able to do in that area short of
actually implementing that policy as a minister. So in terms
of deciding whether to stay or go, I think this is an
opportunity to make more of a difference."
Mr Chauvel will be replaced by Carol Beaumont - a former
trade unionist who was also an MP from 2008 to 2011 but did
not return under Labour's historically low election result.
- By Claire Trevett of the New Zealand Herald