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What Are Those Ex MPs Up To Now?

What Are Those Ex MPs Up To Now?

By Kevin List – image designed by Lyndon Hood

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During the movie Dead Poet's Society the inspiring teacher character, played by one time cocaine snorting funnyman Robin Williams, gets his class to listen to the voices of the past emanating from the old black and photos of former students hanging in the school hall. Thanks to Robin Williams whispered words of inspiration his pupil's truly believe that those in the past are speaking to them and many students head off and embark on foolish careers, such as acting.

While Dead Poets Society ends in tragedy and death, voices from the past do not always lead to carnage and strange career choices. After blowing the mobile phone budget for the entire year Scoop is able to bring a similarly moving experience to life utilising the words of recently departed MPs to inspire those reading to "seize the day".

Any MP that announced they were retiring was not counted as being a bona fide ex MP for the purposes of this investigative exercise. The criteria related to people that were MPs in the 47th Parliament and intended to return to Parliament as an MP for the political party they were elected to represent in 2002 (hence no Paul Adams).

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There are a couple of MPs Scoop wasn't able to contact in person so should anyone reading this know the whearabouts of Ex NZ First MPs Craig McNair or Edwin Perry or ACT's Kenneth Wang please send an email to and we will update their exact whereabouts and career paths.


Matt Robson Ex Progressive MP

"I don't miss the parliamentary environment - the people you work with or Parliament's structure," Matt Robson assured Scoop. Mr Robson was still keeping a few fingers in the political pie however and was "working with Jim Anderton as closely as [possible]". Mr Robson is still the Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party and was looking forward to their 2006 conference.

As with a number of parliamentarians Mr Robson employment prior to being an MP encompassed aspects of the legal profession. In 2006 Mr Robson was getting back into the legal swing of things – one case he's likely to be involved in is that of his friend the Algerian refugee and occasional Dave Dobbyn backing vocalist, Ahmed Zaoui. Preventing underage drinking was also an issue Mr Robson had championed in Parliament and was something he intended to keep chipping away at in the coming year.

John Tamihere ex Labour MP

High profile former Labour MP And Cabinet Minister John Tamihere has kept himself in the news by staging a return to the Waipareira Trust and engaging in a spot of radio presenting at Radio Live.

Lesley Soper ex Labour MP

Lesley Soper's time in Parliament was very brief. Ms Soper entered the elegant portals of Parliament as a replacement for Jonathan Hunt (who departed to become the NZ High Commissioner to Britain in early 2005). Currently Ms Soper is working in Auckland as a consultant. According to her partner most of their spare time is spent renovating a house in their hometown of Invercargill.

Jim Peters Ex NZ First MP

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters' older brother, Jim Peters, will be pre- occupying himself with climate change this year and in particular how legislation regarding climate change impacts on business. Mr Peters told Scoop he had been working with the forestry industry regarding its greenhouse policy. When not looking to the stratosphere for inspiration, Mr Peters was also intent on exploring the ocean's depths, and was deeply interested in Aquaculture. Mr Peters has not been entirely lost to the New Zealand political scene as he is still actively involved in NZ First and will be carrying on in his job as a Northland Regional councillour.

"If I'd have had another three years I'd have enjoyed it but that's the way life is," was Mr Peters take on his three year stint in Parliament. While ensconced in Bowen House Mr Peters had "enjoyed every single day".

Brent Catchpole Ex NZ First MP

Brent Catchpole was enjoying fun and sun in Taupo when Scoop caught up with him. The former MP was still very much involved with NZ First having just been appointed to the Party's Board of Directors where he will be working alongside the new President, Dail Jones.

"The Party has given [me] a lot and I intend to put a lot back,"declared Mr Catchpole.

Being an MP in Wellington had been an "exciting life". Mr Catchpole had occupied himself with setting up a consulting business with the aim of assisting those who wished to lobby either local or central government. While an MP Mr Catchpole claimed to have witnessed a lot of indifferent lobbying and was keen to lift the bar in the lobbying stakes.

Dail Jones Ex NZ First MP

Like a number of former MPs Dail Jones was involved in the legal profession prior to walking onto the political playing field. Mr Jones informed Scoop he was happily back "lawyering again" at the Kumeu Law Centre. Mr Jones is the current President of NZ First - which is a voluntary position. Mr Jones considered that fate must have taken him back to Parliament in 2002 in order that he might work on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill. After departing Parliament in 2005 Mr Jones and his wife had visited Europe. Italy in particular attracted Mr Jones who is currently immersing himself in the Italian language.

Craig McNair Ex NZ First MP

Scoop was unable to locate Mr Mcnair. However the onetime scourge of Green MP Nandor Tanczos is evidently heavily involved in a business venture that sees him traipsing from one end of New Zealand to the other. Other than baiting the Green youth spokesperson Mr McNair's biggest claim to fame during his parliamentary career was indulging in an inter party romance with an employee of the Labour Party soon after his arrival at Parliament. While the harsh glare of media publicity may have snuffed Mr McNair's Wellington romance out Scoop understands Mr McNair was married in early 2005.

Bill Gudgeon Ex NZ First MP

Bill Gudgeon was readjusting to life post Parliament but is keeping up with politics and is currently the chairman of NZ First's Hamilton West Branch. Rather than watching his colleagues in the debating chamber this year Mr Gudgeon will enjoy watching his grandchildren while they were playing sport (rugby and swimming).

Mike Ward Ex Green MP

Ex Green MP Mike Ward did not miss Parliament – at all.

"It's a lot more fun not being a Member of Parlaiment,"he told Scoop

While in Parliament Mr Ward continued his love of the arts, a world he considered he'd never really left, informing Scoop that he was always drawing and "sneaking off to the studio". While the hurly burly of Parliament was not to Mike Ward's taste he was disappointed that he would not be able to see through the many ecological issues that had occupied his time while an MP. Mr Ward conceded it was "possible" that he'd have a crack at the Nelson mayoralty

Gerry Eckoff Ex ACT MP

Former ACT MP and rural affairs spokesperson Gerry Eckhoff was indulging in tractor driving and re-learning the lost art of sheep dagging on his Roxburgh farm. The Otago farmer considered that during his time in Parliament he had been able to inject a "little Southern logic" into proceedings.

Mr Eckhoff was intent on involving himself in the politics of agriculture despite his eviction from Bowen House. This year he was planning on a holiday in Europe with his wife. This would be the first real break Mr Eckhoff had taken since the election. Mr Eckhoff missed Parliament but not being in opposition, which he felt was a "very negative business".

Muriel Newman - Ex Act MP

NZ Centre For Political Debate

ACT's welfare watchperson Muriel Newman was of the opinion that there was a certain collegiality that came with being an Ex MP.

"It doesn't matter what party you were in, when you are out of Parliament – you were once all colleagues and you had to go through the same trials and tribulations to get to Parliament and you do have quite a lot of respect for everybody else," she informed Scoop.

Ms Newman has set up a new website - the NZ Centre for Political Debate - aimed at rarking up political discussion "That's one of the ways that I'm still hoping to make a contribution even though I am not in Parliament."

Ms Newman, who is the co-author of two books on tips for the thrifty, has now finally found the time to put pen to paper and attempt another crack at the literary world. Ms Newman's opponents in Parliament will find it no surprise that she has decided to write a (presumably) non-fiction treatise on welfare reform. Ms Newman had taken a philosophical approach to her newfound non-parliamentary life and posited that it was "too early to tell" if she'd have another crack at storming the hive. One aspect of life as an MP that Ms Newman was glad to ditch was the travel.

"[Travel] was always very difficult when you live in the far north – unlike a lot of MPs who could come on Tuesday and leave on Thursday I found myself stuck in Wellington all week."

Not that being in Wellington was all bad though because "it is a lovely city" according to Ms Newman.

Ken Shirley Ex ACT MP

Parliament was "all consuming" for Ken Shirley when he was an MP (firstly for Labour and latterly ACT). Mr Shirley however had no regrets to have left the Beehive precinct. Over the Xmas holidays Mr Shirley had been surfing and playing a lot of golf thanks to the good weather enjoyed by Mt Maunganui. Post surfing and golfing Mr Shirley assured Scoop that he had a number of employment prospects in a "melting pot".

Stephen Franks Ex ACT MP

Stephen Franks is still pounding the streets of Wellington though rather than dancing to the tune of the political drum these days Mr Franks is boogying to the beat of the legal profession at Chapman Tripp. While he enjoys the law Mr Franks informed Scoop that being an MP was what he really loved doing.

Marc Alexander Ex United Future MP

Mr Alexander was planning to teach children about crime in the future. Unlike a certain NZ crime prevention TV show Mr Alexander was steering well clear of how to pick locks and avoid leaving fingerprints – it was the victims side of crime Mr Alexander wanted to show kids.

"I don't think people understand what victimhood is really about," he told Scoop.

Other legal issues Mr Alexander was considering getting involved in was how to resolve 'tug of love' cases for parents before they sell their house to pay the lawyers bills.

For those interested in food there was the possibility of a book from the former restaurauter looking at how food and beer interact. Although at present too busy to get back into the restaurant game Mr Alexander was passing on his cooking skills – whether it was in a Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver style remained unclear.

A couple of publications had asked Marc Alexander to write for them and he had also been involved in a speaking tour. A second crack at Parliament was not ruled out by the busy chef/novelist/public speaker/victims right advocate.

"I'm not missing Parliament yet but if you ask me again in a year I may very well be," he told Scoop.

Larry Baldock Ex United Future MP

Larry Baldock was itching to get back into the parliamentary environment. Visiting grandchildren had been occupying his time over the Xmas holiday season. In 2006 Mr Baldock was planning on expanding his educational horizons by bringing himself up to speed with the Resource Management Act and finding time to learn Maori.

Bernie Ogilvy Ex United Future MP

Bernie Ogilvy's academic stature was somewhat diminished by his three years in Parliament. Entering Parliament as Dr Bernie Ogilvy it was not long before pernickety journalists began to question the quality of honorific that Bernie Ogilvy had on his office door. Pretty soon it was time for a new nameplate and Dr Ogilvy left Parliament as Mr Ogilvy.

Upon leaving Parliament Mr Ogilvy is still planning on being involved in United Future and was enjoying living life at a more "leisurely" place. Prior to being an MP Mr Ogilvy had helped shape young minds as a teacher. At present Mr Ogilvy has no desire to return to inspiring others in the joy of knowledge.

Murray Smith Ex United Future MP

Murray Smith is planning on plenty of litigation and commuting for 2006. The Petone resident's legal work means at present he journeys to Hamilton every week.


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