13 Jun 2014

Labour won't force Epsom byelection

4:31 pm on 13 June 2014

The Labour Party has confirmed it will not force a by-election in the Epsom electorate following the resignation of John Banks.

Friday is Banks' last day as an MP, following his resignation prompted by being found guilty last week of filing a false electoral return.

He said he was not nostalgic about his last official day as an MP and that he was now a private citizen again.

Justice Wylie, who found Banks guilty after a two-week judge-only trial in the High Court at Auckland, did not formally convict him as his legal team intends to seek a discharge without conviction.

If a conviction had been entered at that point, he would have lost his seat automatically, under the Electoral Act.

However, Banks announced three days after the verdict that he would resign from Parliament.

Labour leader David Cunliffe on Friday said his party would not force a by-election to be held as any newly elected MP would not get the opportunity to sit in Parliament before the general election.

"That's why it would have been ridiculous, I think, to have had two elections in such close succession," Mr Cunliffe said.

"We've done what we said we would do, we've consulted insulted internally, we consulted with potential coalition partners and we're just making clear that we think the public interest is best served by not having the expense of two elections in quick succession."