Pansy Wong, MP, resigns

Listen to Nov 13th 2010 to hear about Pansy Wong resigning as Cabinet Minister.

Pansy Wong has resigned from Parliament. She will not return in the new year. She has been an MP since 1996 when she became the first Asian MP in New Zealand. At that time she lived in Christchurch.

Then in 2008, she won the new electorate, Botany, which is in the eastern suburbs of Auckland. Now that she has resigned, Botany will need a new MP. There will be a by-election in March to choose the new MP but before that, each party has to choose a candidate.

In the 2008 elections, 61% in Botany voted for the National Party and Prime Minister, John Key, hopes that National will win this seat again. About 25% of the people in that electorate are Asian. It is quite a wealthy area.

Pansy Wong’s resignation was a surprise. A report last week showed that her husband had only once broken the rule about not doing business on discounted or free trips. In future, MPs will have to pay for their own overseas trips but they will probably receive a higher salary instead.

The cost of a by-election can be as much as half a million dollars. Elections for the whole of New Zealand will be held in November 2011. Do you think that Pansy Wong should have waited until then before she resigned?

The Asian population is about 8% in New Zealand and growing fast. We have 120 MPs including Dr Ashraf Choudhary, from Pakistan. Do we need to have another Asian MP? Why or why not?

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