Katherine Rich was one of only 2 women on National’s front bench and its last moderate MP. The only surprise in her resignation is that she resisted the National hierarchy’s pressure to leave for so long. National’s all-male inner circle never had any time for this young, independent-minded woman with a social conscience who wouldn’t toe their line.
When she was Social Welfare Spokesperson, Don Brash ignored her enlightened (by National standards) social policy and, without informing her, presented a hardline policy, including forcing poor mothers to give up their babies for adoption. Shocked, Rich resigned the portfolio and it was only a matter of time until she left altogether.
The final insult came when Assistant Education Spokesperson Allan Peachey directly attacked Rich as Education Spokesperson by publicly arguing for a return to bulk-funding, which she had fought so hard against. John Key refused to side with her.
With Key cynically planning to exploit her to garner female votes in the election and facing constant attack inside the Old Boys’ party, Rich has finally had enough.