Foreign Minister Murray McCully leaving politics at next election

Foreign Minister Murray McCully will leave Parliament at the next election.

He announced today he was quitting politics, just days ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle. Source: 1 NEWS

Earlier this year he said he would not contest the East Coast Bays seat he had held since 1987, and today said he wouldn't seek a place on the list either.

Murray McCully hints he may not stand for East Coast Bays ahead of announcement by Conservative leader Colin Craig. Source: 1 NEWS

"In light of the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle, I want to be clear that I will not be a nominee for the National Party list. I have made the Prime Minister and other senior colleagues aware of this position," Mr McCully said.

"I feel greatly privileged to have had a unique partnership with John Key in managing New Zealand's foreign policy interests for over eight years.

"We can look back on some significant foreign policy achievements, including New Zealand's election to the United Nations Security Council, where I am currently attending my final meetings in New York prior to the conclusion of our term at the end of December."

Prime Minister Bill English was asked today if McCully had gone "before he was pushed?"

"Oh look Murray's had, as he's said himself, has had a fantastic run".

He went on to say that McCully had dealt with some "really difficult global issues".

"So I'm not surprised that he's decided that he's going to move on at the next election. But he's one of the most experienced foreign ministers in the developed world."

The Prime Minister was also asked if Chris Finlayson would be considered for McCully's position, answering "you'll just have to wait and see".

Mr McCully has been dogged in recent years over the $8.7m Saudi sheep deal.

The Government was cleared of any wrongdoing, although the handling of it was been criticised by the Auditor-General.

Mr McCully, who has also battled health issues in recent times, said it was up to new Prime Minister Bill English to decide whether he would remain a Minister until the next election.

Mr McCully is the latest National MP to announce their retirement from politics since Mr Key announced he was stepping down, with Craig Foss and Sam Pesta Sam Lotu-liga also calling it quits.