Naylor has just announced he will run against sitting Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway in September’s election, subject to confirmation by local party members.
He said after 13 years in local government, he felt he had more to offer the city and could be more effective as a member of parliament than as mayor.
The timing was right for his family, he said, and while he had not been a member of a political party until recently, he believed National’s values around personal responsibility, strong families and community aligned best with his own.
If successful, he would resign from the mayoralty, triggering a by-election.
He plans to continue as mayor during the campaign.
Naylor was first elected mayor in 2007, after serving six years as a city councillor.
He was re-elected last year, in the city’s first election under STV, when he received 51.7 per cent of voters’ first choices.
This makes Palmerston North very interesting. Iain Lees-Galloway holds it for Labour by 3,285 votes.
Naylor has been elected Mayor three times. In 2013 he got more than twice as many votes as the second placed candidate. He got 52% to their 23%. National must have a very reasonable chance of winning the seat.