National MP and former Minister of Health Jonathan Colman has decided to step down from his role as Northcote MP in order to take up a position in the private sector. Mr Colman maintained it was a hard decision, “ But when you get offered opportunities like this, you just got to take them”.
Economist and Founder of the Opportunities Party, Dr Gareth Morgan says that “while we have high expectations of our politicians, they are in turn very well looked after by the NZ taxpayer, and have an obligation to their constituents. Dr Coleman, being an Electorate rather than a List MP, is the latest to thumb his nose at this social contract he has with his constituents”.
He goes on to say that “Electorate MPs that resign for pecuniary reasons during their term should forfeit all of their taxpayer-funded post political benefits which include inflated Super payments. After all, at the election they undertook to represent the people of their region. To turn around after the event and say ‘too bad, I’m not in government anymore and that’s all it was about for me, it was never about representing you, my electorate’ is the ultimate insult an electorate representative can inflict’.
To add insult to injury, the taxpayer then has to turn around and spend $1 million on a by-election, simply because they took the candidate at their word. Politicians who undertake to represent an electorate should have to pay the costs of a by-election or forgo all their post political perks, if they move on for the money before fulfilling their pledge”.