National’s Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has announced she’s retiring from parliament:
“Yesterday I advised the President and Leader of the National Party Judith Collins that I have decided to retire at this election.
“I made the decision not to stand for Leader or Deputy on Monday and I offered my support to Judith prior to the caucus vote. While Judith made it clear to me that I would be part of her Senior leadership team and Education spokesperson, I am ready to retire. I believe Judith is absolutely the right leader for the Party at this time and I will be supporting Judith and the Party to win this election. New Zealand needs National.
“While I don’t think it was possible to predict the events that have occurred, what I have learned from breast cancer and other life events is you can’t always predict what is around the corner. I have huge respect and admiration for Todd, Michelle and their family as they work through this difficult time. I hope that people continue to show compassion for Todd.
“I have spent most of my adult life serving the public and the National Party. This is personally the right time for me to leave. Cancer has taught me that life can change in a moment and I am ready for the next chapter.
“It has been a privilege to serve as MP for Auckland Central for nearly 12 years, Deputy Leader (briefly) and as a Cabinet Minister in the Governments of both the Rt Hon Sir John Key and Hon Sir Bill English as Minister of Education, ACC, Food Safety, Civil Defence and Associate Immigration and Education.
“I have been very proud to progress the large investments in school infrastructure, the roll out of fast uncapped school internet connections and progressing digital fluency and second language learning. I am also proud of delivering significant ACC levy cuts and passing legislation ensuring greater transparency of ACC levies, food safety reform, cell alerts for civil defence and recovery legislation.
“As the first National MP to win Auckland Central in our country’s history it has been an absolute privilege to serve four terms. I have loved being a local MP progressing projects such as a conservation park for Great Barrier, a number of local school redevelopments, the City Rail Link and apartment law reform. I intend to support the party to find a candidate quickly to ensure Auckland Central continues to have a National MP. I want to thank the people of Auckland central, Waiheke and Great Barrier Island for their support over the past 12 years.
“I have always tried to be a strong advocate for freedom and personal liberty during my time in Parliament particularly around conscience issues. I also hope that the work that I have done in areas like education has made a positive difference to young people.
“I will never forget the compassion showed to me by the people of New Zealand when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am grateful for all the opportunities the National Party and our great country has provided me.
Holding and winning Auckland Central is testament to Nikki’s talent and ability to win cross-party support.
No-one who knows her doubts her capacity for hard work and this tribute from the Ministry for Families shows that:
“It is a sad day for all New Zealanders and those of us working around child protection” says Debbie Swanwick, Director of child advocacy group Ministry for Families.
Her comments follow the announcement today that Nikki Kaye is retiring from politics.
MFF is a consumer led group of people who are having issues in keeping children safe, whether that be through the family court, with Oranga Tamariki or when engaging with government departments.
“Having worked around politicians for most of my life I have never met a politician more dedicated to her work than Nikki Kaye. Her commitment to helping our agency protect children and deal with government departments to deliver justice for them has been inspiring” she says.
Swanwick talks of taking calls from Nikki on a Saturday morning on the Wellsford netball courts following up issues regarding a School Principal bullying a child with an anxiety disorder that were not being addressed by the Education Department. “There is patchy cellphone coverage through there too but nonetheless Nikki Kaye kept calling to ensure the matter was resolved for this child, on the weekend and sometimes late on a Friday night”.
Most recently Nikki Kaye’s office has been following up every week regarding a child uplift that had been conducted by Oranga Tamariki despite the agency being clearly informed there were no concerns regarding the child’s welfare, including by the child. On the day of the uplift the child also clearly disclosed to OT and the police that they were removing her from a safe home which should have halted the uplift. The report writer from Whirinaaki had also disclosed to the child on the day of the uplift that they could see no reason why she wouldn’t be returned home on the day she was uplifted. The child was finally returned six weeks later after some dedicated involvement by Nikki Kaye’s office.
Kaye touched on the work she has done for young people in an interview with the Herald. “She was very humble in what she said though. She has been a game changer for young people in this country and I hope she continues to work in this field” says Swanwick. “She will be sadly missed”.
“These are the stories and the work that the public don’t often hear about. Nikki Kaye has been instrumental as a member of the opposition in ensuring that government departments be made accountable for their actions. Politics is a very demanding career and not for the faint of heart but this is one politician who has done more than any other I know in the area of child protection. We wish Nikki well in her future endeavours” says Swanwick.
I met Nikki when she was first standing for National, admire what she has achieved and appreciative of what she has done for the party, the people she has served and New Zealand.
I know that she has worked hard on many issues. A young woman who has been working with her on one has nothing but praise for Nikki’s determination to do what is best for the people involved and her commitment to do it in a way that isn’t partisan because of her belief it is too important for politics.
She has more than earned a life after parliament and I wish her well.