On Monday, in light of the Royal Commission report into Pike River, Kate Wilkinson resigned as Minister responsible for the Department of Labour.
This was the right decision, given that Pike River was the most serious industrial disaster in the last fifty years, and it happened on her watch.
What’s interesting is that she has only stepped down from that one portfolio, meaning she is still the Minister of Conservation, Food Safety and Associate Immigration Minister.
Looking back over the last 16 years under MMP, all but one of the other 28 Ministers that have resigned (for a wide variety of reasons, have resigned their Ministerial warrant completely – i.e. they have stepped aside from all of their portfolios, given up the Minister’s salary and car, and spent some time on the back benches.
The one exception to this is David Parker, who in 2008 resigned as the Attorney-General. However, the following day he resigned from all of his portfolios. In his words: “So following the Westminster tradition that I believe in, I resigned my other portfolios this morning”.
The honourable thing now is for Kate Wilkinson to follow suit.