Bill English is to step down as the Clutha-Southland MP next year after 24 years representing the electorate, but has no plans to retire from politics.
The deputy prime minister and finance minister, Mr English will remain in politics, and instead seek nomination for the National Party list at the 2014 election.
Mr English, who lives in Wellington, said representing the large Clutha-Southland electorate had required considerable travel and time away from his family, particularly after he became a minister.
With four of his six children having left home, he wanted to strike a better balance between family life and political commitments.
I note Michael Cullen went list only in 1999. Being Minister of Finance means an insanely busy workload, and balancing ministerial duties, electorate duties and family life would not be easy.
Phil Heatley announced his retirement this week also. Phil’s a legendary campaigner, and what was once an almost marginal seat has become rock safe thanks to his efforts. A damn nice guy, with a great sense of humour. I recall being excited in 1999 when we got an intake that included Simon Power, Katherine Rich and Phil Heatley (and others). A bit sad that they’ll all be gone by the next election but 15 years isn’t a bad spell.
The plus side is that National is showing how to renew itself while still in Government. This is quite critical. There’s going to be quite a few new National MPs in 2014. I hope the party organisation is working hard to make sure we get top quality candidates standing for both electorates and list.