Long-serving National MP Nick Smith retiring amid workplace inquiry into 'verbal altercation'

Source: 1News

National MP Nick Smith will be resigning from Parliament on June 10 over what he says are personal and professional reasons, including a Parliamentary Services inquiry into an employment issue. 

"I was disappointed to lose the Nelson seat at the 2020 election after 30 years representing the region. It was working for constituents and advocating for the region that I enjoyed most and I have come to realise that the role as a List MP is just not me. I had decided to retire earlier this year and the only question was when," he said in a statement this afternoon. 

"Politics does place a significant burden on family and I am incredibly grateful for the support of my wife, children and wider family. There have been recent changes in family circumstances which require me to give greater support.

"Parliamentary Services have been conducting a confidential inquiry into a verbal altercation in my Wellington office last July that has not concluded," Smith said. 

"I was advised on Friday that the inquiry and its details have been leaked to the media for release tomorrow. It is inappropriate for employment disputes to be litigated in public.

1 NEWS understands that Smith had a complaint from a male staffer saying he was being bullied by the veteran MP.

The decision has caught several National MPs by surprise.

Harete Hipango is next on National's list and she is poised to come back in.

Smith said he "regretted" the incident.

"I will put on the record that I regret the incident, I apologised at the time and I apologise again today. I have decided the best course of action for the parties involved, the National Party, my family and myself is to retire now. This is an opportunity for National to renew. The Leader, Party and Caucus will continue to have my full support.

"It has been a huge privilege to be a National Member of Parliament, serve as 15 different Ministers under four Prime Ministers and to represent the Nelson region for 30 years. I am looking forward to re-joining the Smith family crane and construction businesses in New Zealand, Australia and in the Pacific."