By James Murray and Dan Satherley
Labour MP Winnie Laban has announced her resignation, forcing a by-election in the Mana electorate, north of Wellington.
Ms Laban is leaving her job to take up the role of assistant vice-chancellor at Victoria University.
“I have worked out that it’s time for me to step away from Parliament now," she said in a statement this afternoon.
"This career move is an exciting one and I am very privileged and honoured to be able to be the MP for Mana and I am very proud of my party,” she said.
Labour leader Phil Goff says although he is sorry to see her go, he is "delighted" at her new appointment.
“Winnie has made a significant contribution to Pasifika and this is a new opportunity for her as a Labour member to continue to work to raise Pasifika aspirations and achievements,” Phil Goff said.
Mana is a safe Labour seat with Ms Laban winning by a margin of approximately 6,000 votes over National Party candidate Hekia Parata at the last election.
3 News political editor Duncan Garner says it is likely Ms Parata will stand again.
Mr Garner says there is a good chance a high-ranking Maori politician from the Labour list will go for the electorate.
“Labour will be looking to find a strong candidate and will campaign on both local issues and issues that matter to all Kiwis,” says Mr Goff.
“We wish Winnie well for her exciting new career and we look forward to the campaign in Mana.”
Ms Laban has been an MP since 1999, coming to Parliament as a list MP. In 2002 she successfully contested the Mana electorate.
She won again in 2005, becoming Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.
Ms Laban held onto her seat in Labour’s unsuccessful 2008 election campaign and is currently the party’s spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs.
This is breaking news – more to follow.