Nikki retires

has announced she is retiring from politics. I’m very happy for Nikki, but equally sad for National.

Nikki is one of my closest friends. We’ve been friends for around 20 years and often holidayed together. As a 28 year old she won Auckland Central off Labour – the only time in 90 years National has held the seat. She is one of the hardest working MPs and candidates I have known – her door knocking is legendary.

She went on to win Auckland Central four times, including beating Jacinda Ardern twice. She became National’s youngest ever female Minister and one of the youngest Ministers of Education.

Auckland Central will miss having her as their MP. She got involved in scores and scores of projects and delivered real results for an electorate that had been taken for granted.

Her cancer diagnosis in 2016 was a huge shock as she was so young and so fit and healthy. It was a stark reminder how cancer can strike anyone, and Nikki showed huge tenacity in fighting it.

She has spent more of her adult life inside Parliament than outside it, and so there is a lot to do outside politics. She’s already done the Coast to Coast three times, so I don’t know what her next big challenge is, but I’m sure she’ll succeed at it.

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