The former Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC has revealed he will stand down from Parliament and return to the Bar.
Mr Finlayson made the announcement on RNZ National’s Morning Report programme today (Thursday) in response to the recording of the telephone conversation between National Party leader Simon Bridges and now Independent MP Jami-Lee Ross. In it, Mr Bridges suggested Mr Finlayson could be one of the MPs who should be replaced.
Asked by co-presenter Guyon Espiner on Mr Bridge’s comments, Mr Finlayson replied: “Well, it’s true,” to the obvious shock of Mr Espiner.
"Oh, I've been planning to go since the last election,” he added.
“I recall the morning that Bill English and I had a chat before Winston went with the other lot and he said ‘what are your plans?’ and I said I would like to finish off a few more (Treaty) settlements, try to do something in Ngapuhi. And we both had a laugh. And then I said ‘I’ll be on my bike’. So, for most of this year, I’ve been working on my exit, so I am hardly upset at a statement of the obvious.”
He then told his interviewer of his future plans.
"I, just a few weeks ago, concluded my arrangements to go back to the Bar and I intend to leave here with class. Class is a commodity which doesn't seem to be in conspicuous supply in politics at the moment."
He said he would likely be out of Parliament “towards the end of December”.
Mr Finlayson was admitted in February 1981 and was a partner with the firms Brandon Brookfield and Bell Gully.
He left private practice in 2002 to become a barrister sole and was elected a National Party list MP in 2005.
He became Attorney-General on 19 November 2008 and was also Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.
Mr Finlayson became a Queen’s Counsel on 13 December 2013. He has lectured in civil procedure, conflict of laws and ethics at Victoria University, and was an inaugural member of the author team for the well-established publication McGechan on Procedure and founding editor of Procedure Reports of New Zealand.