Labour MP Winnie Laban accepted a job at Victoria University before she told her party leader and colleagues of plans to leave politics by the end of the year.
The MP for Mana said she saw an advertisement in the New Zealand Herald for the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Pasifika at Victoria University about two months ago, applied, and was accepted three weeks ago.
She told Labour leader Phil Goff about two weeks ago. Other Labour MPs and party president Andrew Little were told yesterday.
"I unilaterally did this. I saw an opportunity," Ms Laban said.
"Phil would have liked me to stay on, but he was also supportive of what I wanted, and I was pretty determined about what I wanted."
Phil Goff must be very disappointed to see Ms Laban depart, as he completely contradicts her story:
Mr Goff said that although Ms Laban had accepted the position, it was still conditional on his approval.
Phil Goff might think that, but we reckon that Ms Laban's move is indicative of some pretty deep discontent within the Labour caucus. Ms Laban clearly doesn't fancy another three years in opposition after the next election, and has made her unilateral decision to jump ship. George Hawkins, supposedly a Goff loyalist is seeking a local body position, and will resign from Parliament if he gets it. And then, of course, there's the Carter Factor.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see who lines up for one of the few safe Labour seats. We still think it's strongly possible that Andrew Little will be highly interested in yesterday's developments. His links to New Plymouth were tenuous; Mana would give him a seat in the House for as long as he wanted. We've heard Darren Hughes' name touted as well, but that would bring Judith Tizard back into the mix as the next cab off Labour's list ranks.
Interesting times await us!