Sam Lotu-liga steps away from pol­i­tics

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - ELESHA EDMONDS

Par­lia­men­tary du­ties kept Na­tional’s Sam Lotu-liga away from his young fam­ily for 170 days last year.

Which is why the MP for Maun­gakiekie has de­cided to step away from pol­i­tics be­fore next year’s gen­eral elec­tion.

Lotu-Iiga said he made the de­ci­sion to re­tire ear­lier this month af­ter 10 years in pol­i­tics, both on a lo­cal and na­tional level, and was plan­ning to an­nounce it be­fore John Key’s shock res­ig­na­tion. He said the job had been ‘‘im­mensely chal­leng­ing’’ and it’s one that is ‘‘tax­ing on fam­i­lies and your per­sonal re­la­tion­ships’’.

‘‘I came to the fi­nal con­clu­sion that I couldn’t com­mit to an­other four years,’’ he said.

Lotu-liga said he would be ex­plor­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties once he steps down but was first look­ing for­ward to be­ing with his wife Jules and chil­dren Hope, 6, and Luka, 10 months old.

He said his fam­ily was very happy with his de­ci­sion and he looked for­ward to chang­ing nap­pies and be­ing a dad.

The for­mer Cor­rec­tions Min­is­ter faced crit­i­cism fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of fight clubs at Mt Eden prison which led to Cor­rec­tions tak­ing over from pri­vate prison op­er­a­tor, Serco. The fall­out was widely be­lieved to be be­hind his de­mo­tion from his role as Cor­rec­tions Min­is­ter last year. Fol­low­ing a reshuf­fle, Lotu-Iiga picked up Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, As­so­ciate Health, Eth­nic Com­mu­ni­ties and Pa­cific Peo­ples Min­is­te­rial port­fo­lios.

The One­hunga res­i­dent said he was grate­ful to serve the peo­ple of Maun­gakiekie and had re­ceived a lot of sup­port since he an­nounced he was step­ping down.

‘‘I’m not go­ing to miss it be­cause I’m still go­ing to be part of the com­mu­nity.’’

He said a high­light of his time

Lotu-liga said he was look­ing for­ward to get­ting back some of his pri­vacy.

‘‘One of the big costs of pub­lic ser­vice is you lose a lot of your pri­vacy,’’ he said. ‘‘I’d be stopped at school fairs, su­per­mar­kets and walk­ing down the road with my fam­ily.’’

SUP­PLIED

Na­tional MP Sam Lotu-liga, his wife Jules and chil­dren Hope, 6, and Luka, 10 months old.

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