Former Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns has brought down the curtain on his political career, opening the way for new blood to challenge for the seat, which the party believes it can win back in 2014.
Burns, who lost the seat to National's Nicky Wagner by 47 votes at the 2011 election, said he had told Labour leader David Shearer and party president Moira Coatsworth earlier this month and formally told his local electorate committee last week that he would not seek the nomination again.
Asked if that was the end of politics for him, he said: "Yes, I think it is".
He and his wife Philippa would return to Marlborough, where they were developing a 17 hectare vineyard. They aimed to build a house on the land.
"I have done a couple of weeks of manual labour ... it was very therapeutic I can tell you".
He would return to his previous occupation; communications; and would commute to Wellington where most of the available work was.
Before entering politics Burns was a political reporter and then editor of the Marlborough Express newspaper.
He had planned to stay in Parliament for three terms, so the next term would have been his last anyway.
"I don't leave with any particular bitterness. I believe I did a good job."
He loved the work, but it was the most demanding job imaginable, especially after the earthquake; "the biggest natural disaster centred in your electorate on top of the already brutal workload".
But after campaigning for 10 years, starting when he first sought the nomination in Kaikoura in 2002 before shifting to Christchurch, it was time to "clear the berth" for somebody else.
He put his loss last year down to an estimated 3000 who left his electorate after the quakes, another 1500 who failed to turn out on the day and the general tiredness of the voters.
There was no obvious front-runner for the Labour nomination to replace him, he said.
The boundaries would likely change after the census and the large number of people who had moved from the current seat and from Lianne Dalziel's neighbouring Christchurch East seat.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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