'I've done my bit for my country' - Finlayson

By Moana Makapelu Lee

Former Treaty Minister and National MP Chris Finlayson is planning his departure from parliament before the end of year.  Finlayson has spent 13 years in the Beehive and nine in government, during which time he saw through 59 Treaty settlements.

Finlayson says, "I've done my bit for my country.  You can only do one or two things, hope it endures and then you get off the stage."

Bridges’ comments in a private phone recording between him and National MP Jami-Lee Ross revealed his desire to cull some list MPs, including Finlayson, Maureen Pugh and David Carter.

Finlayson says he has been planning his exit for a while.  

“I spoke to my dear friend Jim Bolger at the beginning of the year and said 'Jim when is the right time to go?'  He said ‘I wouldn't do it too quickly.  I'd wait around till October to see where things are at and make final decisions’. And that's exactly what I've done."

Speaking on his time in parliament, Finlayson says his highlight was reforming the Foreshore and Seabed legislation. 

"I was simply appalled that in the twenty first century, a substantial group of my fellow citizens should have the right of access to justice removed from them and if I've done nothing else in public life, to fix that up, it's something that means a lot to me."

Chairwoman of Raukawa Settlement Trust, Vanessa Eparaima, worked with Finlayson closely on Ngāti Raukawa’s settlement.  In 2012 the iwi finalised their deed, which included commercial redress valued at $50mil and the return of significant sites along the Waikato River.

Eparaima says, "He's done such great work and I just think he should absolutely be acknowledged for moving and helping to move Māoridom through a very challenging settlement process.”

“He really cared about Raukawa, our people, our history and future.”

Finlayson plans to return to law once out of office.

While his days in politics draw nearer to the end, his work stands for generations to come.