National's Hamish Walker won't return to Parliament
Outgoing National MP Hamish Walker, who fell from grace after leaking the private data of Covid-19 patients, will not return to Parliament.
In a statement, National leader Judith Collins confirmed the Clutha-Southland MP has been granted leave from his parliamentary duties in Wellington.
"I have spoken with Hamish and we have decided the best course of action will be for him to focus on supporting his constituents from within his electorate," Collins said.
"We expect him to continue this good work through until the end of this parliamentary term."
Walker will continue to be paid his full salary up to the election, and for another three months after at a cost to the taxpayer of roughly $65,000.
His last public statement was on 8 July, when he confirmed he would not stand for re-election and apologised for leaking sensitive material.
"I will be making no further comment," the statement said.
Since then, Walker has not spoken to media or been spotted at Parliament or in public.
Walker won nearly 60 percent of MP votes for his Clutha-Southland electorate in the last election.
In July voters from the electorate said they were disappointed to learn he was the source of the leak, and that it put his values under question.
Nominations for the new National candidate to contest the renamed Southland electorate closed last week.