John Key is leaving Parliament the moment he is able to without causing a by-election. But don't worry - because Labour is letting him do it without affecting the government's majority:
Former Prime Minister John Key will quit Parliament on April 14 after delivering his farewell speech next week.
The timing will allow Parliament to avoid a by-election in his Helensville seat, which can be left vacant if he leaves within six months of the September 23 general election.
Meanwhile Labour's David Cunliffe has also announced he is leaving early, with a final day of April 23 [during a recess - I/S] - ensuring the relative strengths of the Government and Opposition are preserved.
I have one question: why? Why would an opposition possibly want to do this? Especially when there's important legislation like the gutting of the RMA on the table? Why would an opposition want to let the government keep its ability to legislate at will, rather than gaining the ability to advance the aims of its members via an effective veto on government legislation?
I understand that Labour can't stop Cunliffe from resigning if he wants to. But this move, echoing the old FPP practice of pairing, seems to be sacrificing a real opportunity for diddly-squat. Its a reminder that when push comes to shove, Labour is just a bit useless really - and that's not a good message to be sending in an election year.