Why I won’t ever be an MP

ALP factional boss Senator Mark Arbib resigned. He gave a long statement to a press conference about letting Labor heal, and the toll being a politician takes on your family.

Was Mark Arbib’s decision made off the back of a mid-life crisis? The senator said despite what some might think, being a politician was a seven-day-a-week job.

“The time away from your kids, the time away from your spouse is incredibly hard,” he said.

Many years ago he promised his wife he would reassess his own professional life when he turned 40. He reached that milestone last November.

When he was promoted to assistant treasurer in December, he shared the news with his family over dinner.

“My daughter said to me, ‘Dad, is it going to mean more time away from home?’,” he said.

“I told her it will, she started crying and said, ‘Don’t take the job Dad, don’t take the job’.

“For me that says everything about the life of a politician, it says everything about the stress on family.”

MPs make huge sacrifices for their careers and often families have to bear the brunt of these sacrifices. I would never be able to make these sacrifices, because I would not be able to leave my family behind every week to go to Wellington.

I’d also be troubled because I think I would fail the good man test. I wouldn’t be able to help out my mates when they needed a hand moving house, or be there if their wife died, or their kids were in trouble and they needed a mate to look out for them. As an MP I’d be too busy fighting meaningless petty battles that contribute little to the greater good.

Much of what happens in Wellington is pointless. Winning minor tactical victories means losing focus on what matters. In the crazy filibustering of some silly legislation Labour took an urgent sitting through until the Saturday afternoon. One MP missed their daughter’s third birthday party because of this filibuster.

Maybe it was worth it, but they will never get the opportunity to go to their daughters third birthday ever again.

Being an MP in exchange for missing my daughters third birthday party simply wouldn’t be worth it to me. I once quit a high paying job in Sydney one Monday morning and flew back to Auckland on Thursday night because if I stayed working for that company I would have missed my son going to school on his first day. I wouldn’t compromise for that and I sure as hell wouldn’t compromise for flying to Wellington every week to listen politely to people I neither respect or even want to sit with.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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