Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
I made the decision not to stand for Leader or Deputy on Monday and I offered my support to Judith prior to the caucus vote. While Judith made it clear to me that I would be part of her Senior leadership team and Education spokesperson, I am ready to retire. I believe Judith is absolutely the right leader for the Party at this time and I will be supporting Judith and the Party to win this election. New Zealand needs National.
While I don’t think it was possible to predict the events that have occurred, what I have learned from breast cancer and other life events is you can’t always predict what is around the corner. I have huge respect and admiration for Todd, Michelle and their family as they work through this difficult time. I hope that people continue to show compassion for Todd.
I have spent most of my adult life serving the public and the National Party. This is personally the right time for me to leave. Cancer has taught me that life can change in a moment and I am ready for the next chapter.
It has been a privilege to serve as MP for Auckland Central for nearly 12 years, Deputy Leader (briefly) and as a Cabinet Minister in the Governments of both the Rt Hon Sir John Key and Hon Sir Bill English as Minister of Education, ACC, Food Safety, Civil Defence and Associate Immigration and Education.
I have been very proud to progress the large investments in school infrastructure, the roll out of fast uncapped school internet connections and progressing digital fluency and second language learning. I am also proud of delivering significant ACC levy cuts and passing legislation ensuring greater transparency of ACC levies, food safety reform, cell alerts for civil defence and recovery legislation.
As the first National MP to win Auckland Central in our country’s history it has been an absolute privilege to serve four terms. I have loved being a local MP progressing projects such as a conservation park for Great Barrier, a number of local school redevelopments, the City Rail Link and apartment law reform. I intend to support the party to find a candidate quickly to ensure Auckland Central continues to have a National MP. I want to thank the people of Auckland central, Waiheke and Great Barrier Island for their support over the past 12 years.
I have always tried to be a strong advocate for freedom and personal liberty during my time in Parliament particularly around conscience issues. I also hope that the work that I have done in areas like education has made a positive difference to young people.
I will never forget the compassion showed to me by the people of New Zealand when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am grateful for all the opportunities the National Party and our great country has provided me.