Toughest speech to deliver

National Party list MP Katherine Rich is preparing to deliver the most difficult speech she has had give in Parliament.

Her valedictory speech will be heard on September 24 and, after nine years as a Dunedin-based list MP, she had some mixed feelings, Mrs Rich said in an interview this week.

"I am leaving at an exciting time, so I have mixed feelings. It has been a difficult speech to write, because so many of the years have merged."

When she first became an MP, husband Andrew told her not to read her press clippings, good or bad.

But yesterday, she was busy cleaning out her office and taking a look at some of the things people had written about her in the past.

That was proving to be an "interesting experience", when she reflected on her political career.

Some of the correspondence she had received seemed funny now, but not at the time.

Former Clutha MP Sir Robin Gray had provided Mrs Rich with some sound advice when she was first elected, she said.

He wrote that an MP only had two occasions in which they could say exactly what they wanted - their maiden and valedictory speeches.

Retiring Labour MPs will get their chance to say goodbye on September 25.

It is unclear whether Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope, who is not Labour's candidate, nor on the party list, will give a valedictory speech.


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