2 Mar 2017

Annette King 'could cross the divide'

6:05 am on 2 March 2017

Colleagues have honoured long-serving Labour MP Annette King, saying she is a unique politician, who is respected and well-liked across the divide.

Labour Party MP Annette King at a media standup after the release of Budget 2016.

Labour Party MP Annette King at a media standup after the release of Budget 2016. Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs

Ms King is retiring from Parliament at the September election, after a political career spanning more than 30 years.

She said after 10 elections and eight leaders, it was time to call it a day.

Labour's Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard, and United Future leader Peter Dunne entered Parliament at the same time as Ms King, in 1984.

Mr Dunne said they were all part of Labour's backbench in a new David Lange government.

"I think both of us were in marginal seats. We were probably not expected to stick around all that long and both of us ended up being here for quite a while."

"She's always been a very pleasant, amiable person whose worked hard and I think has achieved a lot because her personality is one that enables her to get on side with people," Mr Dunne said.

Mr Mallard said Annette King was a wonderful friend and colleague.

He said they shared a bench when they first came into Parliament.

"She was someone who could get on with people much better than, really, any of my colleagues. I think that was shown when she was the first of the 1984 group to be elected into the Cabinet in 1989."

The New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said Ms King was an extraordinarily likeable person.

"Annette King is one of those quite unique people in politics. She could cross the divide between her party and others."

"She is a very genuine person and I think she would have significant cross-party respect."

The Prime Minister Bill English agreed Annette King was broadly respected in Parliament.

"We certainly wish Annette well. She's one of those politicians that even if you have differences of opinion, you can still have a good relationship.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs