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UF Lose MP Who Played 'Cat and Mouse Game'

Copeland's Cat And Mouse Game Ends With Stage Managed Exit

Gordon Copeland – the former United Future MP will be casting his vote for the 2007 Budget as an independent MP

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In a stage-managed exit United Future MP Gordon Copeland announced he was resigning from his party today but would be staying on in Parliament as an independent MP.

Mr Copeland told reporters that he had decided to leave United Future two weeks beforehand and had been "playing a cat and mouse game for quite some time."

The decision to announce his departure was designed to co-incide with the final stages of the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill which Mr Copeland spent the press conference referring to as 'Sue Bradford's Anti-smacking Bill.'

Mr Copeland said this piece of legislation was behind his decision to leave United Future. However, Scoop can report that Mr Copeland was absent from The House on Wednesday afternoon when votes for that bill were called. It would seem life does have its ironies.

United Future Leader Peter Dunne is a supporter of the legislation however the other United Future MP Judy Turner is an opponent and this afternoon voted against the legislation. Mr Copeland stated that he wished to belong to a party whose aim was the eventual repeal of this legislation. In Mr Copeland's opinion he would be betraying the people that voted for United Future if he hadn't taken the step of resigning from the Party.

Although United Future received less than the five percent threshold required under MMP to gain representation in Parliament Mr Copeland was able to enter Parliament as a list MP due to the fact that Peter Dunne holds the seat of Ohariu-Belmont. Mr Dunne received the news that Mr Copeland was leaving United Future via a telephone call this afternoon.

"[It is] all part of the NZ political process – we have no waka-jumping legislation and I am now an independent member of Parliament," was Mr Copelands reply when asked what he would say to the next person on United Future's list. If Mr Copeland had decided to resign totally from Parliament the next person on United Future's list would have taken his place.

Despite not telling his Leader earlier about his desire to leave Mr Copeland believed he had acted with "total integrity".

Mr Copeland explained that he didn't answer hypothetical questions when asked by Scoop if he would have made the same decision should the party/waka jumping legislation still be in place.

While Mr Copeland will support the 2007 budget he left his options open as to whether or not he would support the 2008 Budget

United Future - the party Mr Copeland has now absconded from - have a supply and confidence agreement with Labour for the entire length of the parliamentary term.

Listen to Gordon Copeland answering questions from the media regarding his departure from United Future

Scoop Audio.Scoop Streaming Audio: PM's post-cabinet press conference, 14/05/07


Click here to download file (mp3)

ENDS

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