Maverick former MP ponders return

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 05:00 18/08/2012
Aaron Gilmore
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Manoeuvring is under way in National over who will fill the seat left vacant when Speaker Lockwood Smith takes up the role of high commissioner in London later this year.

Former MP Aaron Gilmore is next on the list to slip into the seat, but rubbed many of his former colleagues the wrong way while he was in Parliament.

He has continued to ruffle feathers out of Parliament after falling out with Rongotai electorate bosses over his status at a regional party conference.

Next in line after Mr Gilmore is another former MP, Paul Quinn, who hit the headlines earlier this year over an altercation at a central Wellington bank.

Mr Gilmore insisted yesterday there was no issue with his return and party whip Michael Woodhouse had telephoned him this week to extend the welcome mat.

Mr Woodhouse had assured him that a decision on whether to come back was his alone to make, Mr Gilmore said.

"He said it's my choice, it's up to me, and I should think about whether I want to come back or not.

"Most people are very happy for me to come back and those who don't, I haven't had any direct discussions with."

He noted there was no current vacancy and, until one arose, he would not make a final decision about returning.

"I'm very happy doing what I'm dong at the moment . . . I'm busy working in investment banking, doing some interesting pieces of work in the energy sector at the moment."

Labour faced a dilemma after the 2008 election when it wanted to inject new faces into Parliament but had to persuade several former MPs, including Judith Tizard and Mark Burton, to agree to be bypassed when a seat became vacant.

Mr Quinn said he had not made a decision on whether he would return to Parliament if the chance arose.

Paul Foster-Bell, who stood for National in Wellington Central in 2011, said he was willing to take up a list seat, though he had not thought about it with two people ahead of him on the list.

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- The Dominion Post

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