Health and States Services Minister Tony Ryall has announced he won’t be seeking re-election.
“I am looking forward to being part of New Zealand’s dynamic future in the private sector,” Mr Ryall says.
Mr Ryall has been in Parliament for 24 years, as a young back bencher, an opposition spokesman and a Minister of six portfolios.
“This is the right year for me to leave politics, and I’m up for the next challenge. The Government is doing very well and the National Party is in great heart.
“It has been a huge privilege representing the Bay of Plenty since 1990 and having a senior role in John Key’s high-achieving government. I’ve greatly enjoyed being in Parliament.”
As Minister of Health since the National Government took office in 2008, Mr Ryall has overseen significant change and improvement in services.
“Our health services have been transformed with a great effort by clinicians and motivated teams across the sector.
“In 2008, the health system was on track to financial ruin but we’ve turned that around. My more business-like approach has provided more services and better care for patients within a tight budgetary environment.
“I am particularly proud of achieving record elective surgery, faster cancer treatment, and more effective preventive healthcare for New Zealanders.
“Many people underestimate the importance of the health sector in New Zealand which amounts to one-tenth of the economy. There are some 70,000 people employed directly in the public health service alone.
“And we have a very vibrant private sector too, with innovative and successful New Zealand companies like Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. There’s a wide group of NZ Health IT and medical device manufacturers whose innovation and expertise is developing technologies for here and abroad.
“As State Owned Enterprises Minister, it’s been a pleasure working with Bill English to oversee the government share offer programme.
“This has deepened New Zealand’s capital markets and to date has generated almost $4 billion to help control debt.
“Externally, the mixed ownership model has forced increased scrutiny and debate on the performance of these companies, the service they provide their customers, and of their value to New Zealand.
“Across the wider SOE portfolio I’ve introduced an on-going series of strategic reviews. These enable the Crown and the board of an entity to consider the longer term strategy and future direction of each business. This has already led to significant improvements and will generate further benefits over time.
“As State Services Minister I was pleased to introduce the performance improvement framework for departments and the cap on public service staff numbers.
“I have discussed my decision with Mr Key and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, who were both disappointed but supportive.
“There is still a lot of work to do in both my portfolios and I appreciate the Prime Minister allowing me to continue my work in Cabinet until the next election.
“I also want to thank all the good people who have voted for me over the years, and in particular the great team who have worked so hard for me in my National Party organisation.”
Tony Ryall entered Parliament as MP for East Cape in 1990 at age 26.
Between 1997 and 1999 Mr Ryall was at times Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Minister of Local Government, Minister of Youth Affairs, and Minister of Justice.
During the National Party’s time in Opposition, he was Law and Order Spokesman (1999–2005), Commerce Spokesman (2002 – 2003) and Health Spokesman (2005–2008).
Since 2008 Mr Ryall has served as Minister of Health and again as Minister for State Owned Enterprises (2011 – ). He was Minister of State Services 2008 – 2011.
His majority in the Bay of Plenty electorate is 17,760.
Health is one of the most important and demanding portfolios and the Minister has accomplished a lot of work in improving services and getting better value for money.
His will be big shoes to fill in Cabinet, caucus and his electorate.
He is the 14th National MP to stand down which is enabling refreshment in caucus in stark contrast to Labour.