Mt Albert electorate has lost their second successive electorate MP to the lure of top United Nation (UN) job in a span of seven years.
This time, it is because the much-liked David Shearer has accepted the role of head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) starting early next year.
Earlier it was Labour Leader Helen Clark’s exit as the administrator of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2009.
Labour has held this seat since it was created in 1946 and was Ms Clark's stronghold between 1981 and 2009.
UNMISS is the UN's third-largest peacekeeping mission, with 17,000 uniformed and almost 2,000 civilian personnel deployed in the mission.
A recommendation for Mr Shearer's appointment was put before the UN Security Council by outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
This recommendation was based on his individual capacity, not requiring any official backing from the New Zealand government. Nevertheless, the NZ Foreign Minister has fully extended its endorsement behind Mr Shearer’s new appointment as a UN administrator.
This is a senior position at the United Nations that would report directly to the Secretary-General.
Labour Leader Andrew Little confirmed that he had been kept informed of Mr Shearer's involvement in the selection process and he was "very excited for him.”
“David will be the only New Zealander in charge of a UN peacekeeping mission. This is a very exciting opportunity for him to make a difference and help bring peace to a country of nine million people torn apart by civil war,” Mr Little said.
Mr Shearer has a short political career from 2009 to 2016 with many hits, misses, and regrets.
Undoubtedly, the high point of his political career was his leadership of the Labour Party from 2011 to 2013—a period when the party had maximum polling.
One of the regrets was the end of his time as Labour leader in 2013 without fighting an election.
"For me, the Labour leader was both a highlight, and obviously, ultimately a disappointment.
“Sadly, I think we were at our best at the end," said Mr Shearer recalling his experience as the Labour leader in his final departing speech to the Parliament.
With this exit, the third self-propelled departure of former Labour leaders after Phil Goff and David Cunliffe has successfully completed.
Mr Goff had earlier left the Labour caucus for Auckland Mayoralty and Mr Cunliffe has declared that he would not be returning to Parliament in 2017, thus giving a clear run to the current Labour leader Andrew little.
Earlier this year, Mr Goff and Mr Shearer had threatened to cross the party line and vote against Labour caucus’ opposition to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Mr Goff has then escaped unscathed whereas Mr Shearer was threatened with a censure for not toeing the party line against TPP. It might be a possibility that Mr Shearer’s exit plan from Labour caucus might have been triggered as a post-TPP effect.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Jacinda Ardern has put up her hand up to stand for Labour in Mt Albert by-election.
The recent Mt Roskill by-election results have given the Labour the added confidence to retain the seat.
Mt Albert is another traditional Labour stronghold seat where National Party had more party votes in 2014.
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