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PoliticsOctober 17, 2023

What not to say when you lose your job


You could say thank you or good luck. You probably shouldn’t say you miss your Koru Club membership.

As I type, the Labour Party is saying farewell to about half of its MPs who lost their jobs on Saturday. It’ll be a sombre affair and after a caucus meeting, many of those MPs will be asked how they’re feeling, having served their country as members of parliament for (at least) three years.

They’ll likely respond with things like:

“I’m obviously disappointed but I’m proud of the work I was able to do while in office.”

“The people have voted and I respect that and I’ll be following the new government with interest.”

“It’s an honour and a privilege to serve the people of New Zealand so above all else, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.”

“I’ll be back in 2026, don’t you worry.”

These are all reasonable and appropriate things to say. Here are a couple of things you probably shouldn’t say after losing your job as an MP:

“You might think I’m looking relaxed now because I feel a weight has been taken off me at the same time.” – Education minister Jan Tinetti, who may actually still be in parliament on the list after failing to win the Tauranga seat.

Being the education minister when attendance, achievement and vaping seem to be converging to create a Hydra crisis would not be an easy job. No longer having the responsibility and scrutiny probably is a relief. But don’t say it out loud! That’s for you to tell your partner and your dog, not the news reporter at the airport.

“The biggest thing for me was, you know, going into the Koru Lounge and then the red lights of doom go off because your Koru Club has been cancelled. For me it’s about moving from champagne to lemonade.” – Labour list MP Dan Rosewarne.

Rosewarne managed to last 15 months on an MP salary ($163,961) without anyone having any idea who he was or what he did, and now will be solely remembered for this ill-advised parting remark. Rosewarne has a fascinating backstory – training as a mechanic, serving in the Defence Force and surviving cancer all before entering parliament. The Koru Club is home to many a political scandal and is objectively a fun perk. My brother got very drunk in 2019 and bought me a Koru Club membership and I loved it. Then a year later it lapsed and I did not talk to a reporter (at leat not on the record) about how hard it was to rejoin the plebs at the gate. Besides, Rosewarne will get three months’ salary in his exit package and a very generous government contribution to his pension so he can probably afford a Koru membership all on his own.

No one has looked happier than both Jacinda Ardern and John Key in the months following their respective resignations as prime minister. It is a normal reaction to feel a bit of relief at not having to do a certain job anymore even if you spent years pleading with New Zealanders to let you do that same job. It’s also reasonable to miss the free wine at the Koru Club. Just don’t say it out loud right away.

Keep going!