The Empty Cabinet - Bill's National exodus

9:33 pm on 17 December 2016

Satire - A number of National MPs have quit. They say it has nothing to do with the party's change of leadership. Denis Welch isn't so sure.

no caption

Photo: 123rf

Nothing could be further from the truth, says Kevin Bolster, who announced today he would not be standing again at the next election.

The former dairy farmer, who has been Minister of Soil Testing, Grass Seeds and Fertiliser Spread since 2011, said he had been planning for this day since he entered Parliament in 2008.

"Right from the moment I was elected," Mr Bolster said, "I pencilled in 16 December 2016 as my retirement date. It's just an amazing coincidence that it should happen just after John Key's resignation and Bill English taking over."

Commentators said Mr Bolster fell out of favour with Mr English a year ago when he described Mr English's social investment programme as the best example of fertiliser spread he'd seen since half his herd got diarrhoea.

Mr Bolster said he was making some 'poor choices' of words at the time, and he now believed Mr English should be canonised by the Catholic Church.

Martha Mont stepped down two days ago as Minister of Suboptimal Education and Associate Minister of Lunch.

"I've been keen to get out since the day I started," she said. "I was just waiting for the right moment. This is the perfect time now."

Ms Mont, who once described Mr English as a dry old stick with about as much compassion as a dead frog, said she was excited about his Prime Ministership and thought he would do a wonderful job.

"I know I was in line for promotion under him," she said, "but I'm sticking to my retirement plan because I believe in making way for new blood."

Ms Mont is 31.

Mark Troll-Friendly, who tweeted his resignation as Minister of Social Media yesterday, said he'd been mulling over the idea for some time and it was just an "extraordinary and almost unbelievable coincidence" that he was stepping down just after Mr English replaced Mr Key as Prime Minister.

Mr Troll-Friendly caused controversy last year when he said most Catholics wouldn't know a vestal from a virgin, but said he and Mr English were best mates and he was just sorry he was letting him down by not putting his name forward for Cabinet again.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Auckland National Party member David Seyless, who's ambitious to be an MP one day, said he would retire as soon as he got into Parliament.

"It'll save a lot of bother later on," he said.

* Denis Welch is an editor at RNZ and an independent author

  • Brand John: The Key to National's success
  • Flaming heck - that was a bad year!
  • New PM and deputy like chalk and cheese
  • Changes afoot in National as English takes power
  • Fun and Games - The Olympics like you've never seen it