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National MP Anne Tolley to retire from politics after 2020, citing family time

Veteran National MP Anne Tolley has announced she’s retiring from politics after this year’s election.

Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett were sued by Winston Peters along with MSD and civil servants over the leak of details about his superannuation payments. Source: 1 NEWS

The deputy speaker and East Coast MP previously said she was going list-only after this year’s election.

Ms Tolley has been an MP since 2005 and was first elected in 1999.

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Since then, she has held a wide range of ministerial portfolios including Education, Corrections, Police, Tertiary Education, Social Development, Youth, Children and Local Government. She also served as the National Party’s first female Whip.

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Today Ms Tolley said she had received “tremendous support” from her family throughout her political career.

“My husband has lived a political widower’s life, too often taking second place to the needs of my job. 

“So the time has come for me to put life with him and our family first and to do the things we’ve talked about but struggled to fit into a busy political schedule.”

When Todd Muller replaced Simon Bridges as National's leader, Ms Tolley was dropped to number 32 on the party list.

When 1 NEWS asked Ms Tolley whether her decision had anything to do with the outcome of the National leadership challenge, she said: "Absolutely not."

"It’s simply a desire to spend time with my husband and family and call time on my political career," she said.

Mr Bridges took to Twitter to express his admiration for his "dear friend".

"I'm so sad my dear friend Anne Tolley is retiring from Parliament," he wrote.

"Anne has been a trailblazer for women in politics and a fine MP and Minister. She would have made a brilliant Speaker of the House."

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She said she was confident Mr Muller and the party’s leadership team could win the election, endorsing candidate Tania Tapsell in her former East Coast seat.

”So it is a great time for me to step back, relaxed, knowing I leave it all in good hands.”

Leader of the National Party, Todd Muller also tweeted his support.

"Thank you for the huge contribution you've made to Parliament and the National Party as a local MP, Cabinet Minister and Deputy Speaker. Wishing you all the very best in your well-earned retirement," he said.