TODAY |

Analysis: Paula Bennett 'a really big loss' to the National Party says Jessica Mutch McKay

The National Party will hope the departure of Paula Bennett won't result in a loss in urban votes at this year's election.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The 1 NEWS political editor says Bennett helped attract a new type of person to the National Party. Source: 1 NEWS

The colourful Bennett, a former Deputy Prime Minister, announced today she won't seek re-election in September, having been demoted after Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye rolled her and Simon Bridges in last month's leadership coup.

A single mum turned politician, Bennett spent 15 years at Parliament, holding senior positions in Government and Opposition.

She is now eyeing a role in the business world.

Read more
Paula Bennett retires: 'The 17-year-old solo mum who dropped out of school ended up becoming deputy Prime Minister'

While not a huge surprise after a bruising shake-up at the top of the party, 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay said her loss would be felt, both in terms of her experience, and the kind of New Zealander she attracted to the party.

"She was deputy Prime Minister, she was a Cabinet minister, she was one of those MPs who had seen it all and done it all, lots of political stories come and go under her watch," Mutch McKay said. 

"She also attracted a different type of voter to the National Party, more of that urban vote, a bit of a Westie in leopard print vibe in there too, and definitely a good dose of sparkle added into the mix as well."

Bennett's departure comes hard on the heels of Anne Tolley's announcement she was also stepping down.

Both were firmly in Team Bridges, and means "a lot of experience walking out the door," for Muller, as he seeks to return National to power. 

Bennett says Muller was gracious when she told him of her plans, with the party's current leader saying New Zealand was a better place for her political service.