Mark Gosche is looking forward to having a private life.
The MP for Maungakiekie is retiring after four terms in parliament to spend more time with family.
"I’m actually quite looking forward to a reasonably normal sort of existence, where you’re not a public figure and can have a weekend or a night off," he says.
"I’ve been in public life for a long time and I’m desirous of not being in public life at the moment."
Earlier this year Mr Gosche announced he wouldn’t re-stand for the Maungakiekie seat, but remained on the Labour list.
Last week he withdrew as a list candidate, saying it was time to pursue other options.
Mr Gosche says working in Auckland will allow him to focus on family and caring for his wife, who was disabled after a brain haemorrhage six years ago.
The couple’s adult son also died suddenly last year.
"It’s not the sort of thing you expect when you start your political career, that you’re going to get struck with personal tragedies, but that’s the reality of life," he says.
"I’ve had a good 12 years in parliament and done some rewarding things."
Mr Gosche was first elected as a list candidate in 1996, and won the Maungakiekie seat from National MP Belinda Vernon in 1999.
He has served as minister of Housing, Transport, Pacific Island Affairs, Corrections and Racing, and was the first person of Pacific Island descent to be a member of cabinet.
Mr Gosche says he has no firm plans on his future career.
"I’ve been committed to being an MP and had my name on the list so I haven’t started to arrange my thoughts around what I’d do next."
But he says he’ll remain involved in politics, and will give his support to Labour’s new Maungakiekie candidate, union secretary Carol Beaumont.
Prime minister Helen Clark says Mr Gosche’s decision to retire for family reasons is understandable.
"Mark Gosche has been a tremendous local Labour MP and made a very good contribution as a minister in cabinet.
"I wish him all the best for life beyond parliament," Miss Clark says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have the new speed limit rules made you change your driving habits?