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Labour keen to move on from Hughes saga

Published: 10:35AM Saturday April 02, 2011 Source: Fairfax

The Labour Party is keen to move on from the Darren Hughes saga at their National Council meeting in Wellington today, saying there were bigger issues for New Zealanders.

Hughes resigned from Parliament after it was made public police were investigating a sexual complaint against him.

Arriving at the meeting today Labour leader Phil Goff said he expected it to be a very positive meeting but he would explain his handling of the Hughes situation.

He said he had put justice ahead of politics and would do it again.

Goff knew about the police complaint for several weeks before it was made public and failed to tell other senior party members.

The first two hours of the meeting were spent discussing the handling of the situation. Goff said he would learn from it but everyone wanted to move on.

"There was a lot of regret about the circumstances that lead to the resignation of a very capable and a very popular Member of Parliament, that has now happened, Darren is no longer a Member of Parliament the Labour Party decision is to move on."

Nominations will reopen for the Otaki candidate Monday and former minister Judith Tizard was expected to decide tomorrow if she would return to Parliament.

As next on the party list she should do so, but President Andrew Little has suggested she and others on the list should stand aside and let Manurewa candidate Louisa Wall enter.

Little reiterated that the party was ready to move on. "What the Council was adamant about is that we reflect on the (Hughes) issue but we've got bigger fish to fry, we've got a bigger task to under take this year and it's about fighting on those issues that are really affecting so many kiwi households today."

Today was Little's last as President. He will be replaced by Moira Coatsworth.