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Phil Goff leaves parliament after 35 years

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/10/2016

Phil Goff © Getty Images Phil Goff Phil Goff first stood in parliament's debating chamber 35 years ago, and now he's walked out of it for the last time.

The Labour MP for Mt Roskill was elected Auckland's mayor on Saturday and has resigned his seat.

Mr Goff on Tuesday delivered his valedictory speech, saying he believed the values he held when he made his maiden speech had not changed.

"I grew up believing working people deserved a fair go," he told a packed chamber.

"And I pay tribute to the first Labour government that strove to achieve a country where people could get the best education and income, regardless."

Mr Goff listed the numerous ministerial portfolios he held under Labour prime ministers, and how at age 31 he had become New Zealand's youngest cabinet minister.

His first portfolio was housing and he said he had proudly stopped the sale of state houses.

As education minister he had introduced legislation allowing foreign fee-paying students in New Zealand.

"I was told it would ruin education, now it is a $3 billion a year enterprise."

Other highlights were negotiating the China free trade agreement when he was trade minister, and his visits to New Zealand troops deployed overseas when he was defence minister.

He summed up by saying it was making a difference that mattered.

"This is an adversarial chamber, but I believe members elected to it all want to make New Zealand a better place.

Mr Goff dealt briefly with his new position, and the problems Auckland faces.

His parting shot to government ministers sitting opposite him was: "You haven't seen the last of me."

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