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King leaves Rongotai open for Little

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/12/2016

Labour MP Annette King, 69, is ready to give someone else a go in the Rongotai electorate she's represented for more than two decades but is staying on as a list candidate.

List MP and Labour leader Andrew Little, who lives in the electorate, says he's yet to decide if he'll stand there in next year's general election.

Ms King told AAP she gives up the seat she's held since it was known as Miramar in 1993 with sadness "because it's been my life".

"I decided the party is looking to renew in the seats and it was the right time for me to move and to have a new person come in."

She says she's not leaving parliament because she wants to fight for a change of government in the election.

"If we are in government I'd very much like to be the minister of health, if we're not in government then of course you consider your options then," she said.

Ms King is the deputy leader of Labour and their spokeswoman for health. She is a former minister of health.

Ms King first entered parliament in 1984 in the Horowhenua seat and first represented Miramar in 1993 when she returned to parliament. The seat later became Rongotai.

Ms King says the electorate has changed a lot in her time. Many manufacturers in the eastern suburbs of Wellington have closed but hi-tech and creative businesses have opened and are flourishing.

Businesses associated with Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor are in the electorate.

"We have perhaps more new settlers here than we used to have although it's always been the home for refugees and people coming to New Zealand, which gives it its wonderful diversity," she said.

The electorate is being gentrified but is still one of the most vibrant communities in New Zealand.

"It's a place I love and I'll continue living in it," she said.

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