Smith ready to return to fold after long 'gardening leave'

Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013
Nick Smith
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ
NICK SMITH: Former ACC minister.

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A refreshed Nick Smith says that although his time on "gardening leave" has been good in parts, "my advice to the prime minister is ‘the garden is done'."

The Nelson MP, who resigned his ministerial portfolios just days after introducing a local government reform package last year, would not go into specifics but made it clear this week that he would love to return to the Government's inner circle.

"Anybody involved in politics knows that the real action occurs in the Cabinet room, and I can do best for Nelson, and in terms of my areas of expertise, by being in the Cabinet," he said.

Dr Smith has vast parliamentary and Cabinet experience for a politician of his age. At 48, he has been in Parliament since 1990.

Despite being demoted from sixth to 10th in Prime Minister John Key's reshuffle after the 2010 election, he began the term on a high note, tackling his local government portfolio with gusto.

It all came crashing down a few months later when he was drawn into the Bronwyn Pullar ACC controversy. He resigned from Cabinet last March.

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- The Dominion Post

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