Steven Joyce has announced he’s retiring from parliament:
“I have had a wonderful time in this place over the last nearly ten years including nine years as a Minister, and have been privileged to be able to make a real contribution to the development of our country,” Mr Joyce says.
“With the recent change of National Party leadership I have had the opportunity to consider again what I would like to do over the next several years.
“Simon has made a very positive proposal to me to stay and contribute as a senior member of the team on the front bench with a choice of portfolio.
“However I feel that it is time for him to get a new team around him to take National forward and win in 2020 and then govern again for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
“I have offered to assist in any way I can from outside parliament and will remain a staunch supporter of the Party.
“Personal highlights of my time in office include setting up major infrastructure projects like ultrafast broadband, the major motorway and expressway projects now coming on stream, and the electrification of Auckland’s commuter rail network.
“I have also enjoyed my involvement in the tertiary education sector, the hi-tech sector, the science sector and regional New Zealand and am proud of the progress we made as a Government in all four areas.
“I have led the National Party’s general election campaign five times as Campaign Chair and in four of those for John Key and Bill English, we achieved a Party Vote in excess of 44 per cent, the only time it has happened under MMP.
“And it was an honour to be Bill English’s Associate Minister of Finance for eight years before presenting my own budget in 2017, which continued building the platform for future economic growth and focused on boosting incomes for low and middle income earners.
“My plan now is to return to commercial life and seek new challenges and also to focus on being a good Dad to Tommy and Amelia.
“I’d like to thank my wife Suzanne, colleagues, staff, party supporters, the public and all the people I have met through my work for their encouragement, support and friendship over the last ten years in Parliament and fifteen in the party.”
I first met Steven when he was commissioned by the party to lead its reorganisation and I was National’s Otago electorate chair.
He and then-president Judy Kirk went round every electorate seeking members’ views.
That led to new rules which made the party fit for MMP, strengthened its organisation and provided solid stones for the foundation on which the return to government was built.
Steven later became party general manager and I was impressed by how approachable and responsive he was whenever I had the need of his help or advice.
In 1996, 1999 and 2002 National still ran First Past the Post campaigns. The difference between those campaigns and the ones run by Steven from 2005 when no candidate or volunteer was left in any doubt about the importance of the party vote showed in the results.
He’s given more than nine years of service to New Zealand as a Minister and more than that to National.
He’s earned a return to the commercial sector and his family and I wish him, and them well.
National leader Simon Bridges pays tribute to Steven here.