25 Aug 2010

Roy makes surprise return to Parliament

11:04 pm on 25 August 2010

ACT MP Heather Roy has made a surprise return to Parliament and is standing behind her performance as former Associate Defence Minister.

Mrs Roy was dumped as the party's deputy leader and replaced by John Boscawen following a caucus meeting last week.

She subsequently resigned her ministerial portfolios of Consumer Affairs, Associate Defence and Associate Education.

Mrs Roy was given leave until next week, but on Wednesday said she was ready to come back early. Radio New Zealand understands she had not informed her caucus colleagues and that her return took them by surprise.

There had been speculation Mrs Roy might resign from Parliament or, at the very least, leave the party.

ACT leader Rodney Hide has said there were serious concerns about aspects of Mrs Roy's Associate Defence portfolio and about her senior ministerial adviser Simon Ewing-Jarvie.

However, on Wednesday Mrs Roy insisted she had done a good job in the defence portfolio.

She said Defence Minister Wayne Mapp sent her a note saying he regretted they would not be working together in the future, as they were a very effective team.

Mrs Roy also denied any undue influence from Mr Ewing-Jarvie.

"No, absolutely not, and anybody who knows me well would know that I'm pretty single-minded and I can make up my own mind about things.

"I was a competent minister and I really regret that the really good projects I started I'm not going to be able to help complete."

Mrs Roy said that she and Mr Hide would be able to put last week's events behind them and any personality differences within the caucus are secondary to the success of ACT.

Saga over deposed deputy 'pathetic'

In a speech on Tuesday evening, Rodney Hide described the controversy over the dumping of Mrs Roy as a sad and pathetic saga.

Mr Hide said that he, and the ACT caucus, had serious concerns about some aspects of Mrs Roy's Associate Defence portfolio.

He said he had initially been reluctant to go into any details about her dumping as deputy to give her a chance to put it all behind her.

But Mr Hide said the leaking of what he describes as malicious material, apparently by her senior ministerial adviser, Simon Ewing-Jarvie, has contributed to what he calls a sad and in many ways a pathetic saga.

Calvert next on list

The next candidate on ACT's list, Dunedin lawyer Hillary Calvert, said she has not been told to get ready to take over Heather Roy's role.

Ms Calvert said if she felt she could be useful to the ACT caucus she would join it, but it was her understanding that Mrs Roy wants to stay.

She told Morning Report she was passing through Wellington on Wednesday as she headed on holiday and may not even talk to Mr Hide while she is in the capital.