Monday, July 22, 2024

One term and done for new MP Damien Smith

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Botany-based ACT Party List MP Damien Smith is not seeking re-election at this year’s general election. Times file photo

Damien Smith is calling time on his political career after just one term in Parliament.

The former business banker stood in the Botany electorate as the ACT Party’s 10th-ranked candidate at the 2020 general election.

ACT received 7.6 per cent of the party vote nationwide and Smith was elected as one of its nine new List MPs.

He’s its spokesperson for arts, culture and heritage; commerce and consumer affairs; land information; racing; revenue; sport and recreation; and state-owned enterprises.

Smith is also associate spokesperson for finance and is on Parliament’s finance and expenditure committee.

Prior to entering politics he had a successful career in banking and worked as a consultant and independent company director.

He’s contemplating what challenge he wants to take on once he leaves Parliament and may return to banking.

Smith says he believes this year’s general election, scheduled for October 14, will see a change of Government.

Labour isn’t telling the public that “things are still going to be tough” economically in the near future, he says.

“This time next year it’s not going to be any easier.

“I’ve enjoyed being on the finance and expenditure committee and understanding [Finance Minister] Grant Robertson, [Revenue Minister] David Parker and [Reserve Bank governor] Adrian Orr.

“It’s given me a great training and platform to see what needs to be changed in the country.

“That [the committee] is where the business of the country gets done … so it’s been an honour to be on there.”

Smith says one highlight during his brief stint in Parliament was “telling Labour they’re wrong with their tax policies and wrong with their Deposit Takers Bill”.

“I’ve voted against everything they’ve proposed over the past three years.

“That’s what you do when you’re in Opposition. I firmly believe they’ve got things wrong and people are paying a price for it out there. It didn’t have to be this way.

“In my maiden speech I pointed out that a self-engineered or -induced recession was likely to happen if the Government kept spending [so much] and it’s come to pass.”

ACT leader David Seymour says Smith has been a valued member of the party since 2020 and he thanks him for his “service and hard work”.

“He came to politics from a successful banking career in multiple countries and has used that expertise in Parliament, particularly with his Member’s Bill to liberalise our overseas investment laws and to bring about common-sense changes to the CCCFA [Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act].

“His distinctly Irish cheer and optimism will be missed, and the ACT caucus wishes him all the best for the future.”

ACT president Henry Lynch says Smith has worked hard over the past three years, particularly in east Auckland.

“We’re proud of the way the 2020 intake of MPs has performed over the past three years, and while it’s a shame to see Damien move on, we’re optimistic about the new talent the party has attracted for 2023.”

Smith says he has “profound gratitude” to the people who provided him with support, mentorship, and guidance during his tenure in Parliament.

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