'This is the end of my chapter' - Nikki Kaye

By Jessica Tyson

Former National Party deputy leader Nikki Kaye is looking forward to a break from politics after announcing her retirement yesterday.

“What I had to weigh up was me having all of the 100 per cent energy in the can and, when you go through something like this, there’s a lot of mixed emotions. I spent my adult life in Parliament - you either step up or step out.”

Kaye lost the deputy leader role after Todd Muller resigned from the leadership, forcing National to scramble and elect new leaders.

“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," she says.

“All that you can control, as I’ve said many times before, is who you are and, for me, now is the right time to leave. I felt that as I walked out of the caucus room that actually this is the end of my chapter.”

Kaye served as MP for Auckland Central for nearly 12 years, held the position as deputy leader and served as a cabinet minister in the governments of both Sir John Key and Sir Bill English as Minister of Education, ACC, Food Safety, Civil Defence and Associate Immigration.

She says she is proud of what she achieved.

“If I think about the education portfolio, whether i'ts pushing digital literacy in schools, greater access for those people who are disadvantaged, the second Language Learning Bill, which in my view guarantees additional funding for te reo, the capital school upgrade that I’ve been involved in, a number of the things that I have been pushed in education have been about greater equity and I’m really proud of that.”

Her Auckland central seat is also up for grabs and National has yet to select her replacement. Meanwhile, Kaye plans on having a break before her next venture.