MP Coddington bows out to look for 'real job'

By Patrick Crewdson

High-profile ACT MP Deborah Coddington is quitting politics, saying she is no longer angry enough to be effective in Parliament.

Ms Coddington, 52, said she had decided not to stand for re-election this year because she no longer felt she could "do the job justice".

She made the decision while honeymooning overseas following her wedding to Wellington lawyer Colin Carruthers, QC, last month.

Ms Coddington made her name as a politician campaigning on children and family issues and against paedophiles.

She was also Act's education spokeswoman.

But the political career of the woman once widely tipped as a future Act leader took a turn for the worse in late 2003 when her personal problems began to attract heavy media attention.

In November that year she was caught up in negative publicity surrounding the business dealings of her then-partner, publisher Alister Taylor, who was later found by an Australian court to have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

Ms Coddington made headlines again in October last year after being pursued through Parliament grounds by Business Roundtable head Roger Kerr, with whom she had previously been in a relationship.

At the behest of Act president Catherine Judd the pair made a public statement calling the story "a storm in a teacup" and saying they were still "good friends". Mr Kerr later said the incident came at the end of a four-year affair.

Ms Coddington acknowledged yesterday that her personal issues had hurt Act, but said she had "every confidence" in the leadership and in their ability to return the party to Parliament.

"I don't think we've seen the best of (Act leader Rodney Hide) yet. He's had a very difficult year and . . . my headlines have contributed to it being a difficult year for him - but I have every confidence that he will lead Act back into Parliament at the election."

Ms Coddington said she would campaign for the party vote for Act until the election and then take a one-month break before finding "a real job".

But though a return to writing was on the cards, she said she had no intention of penning a tell-all political memoir.


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