National's Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker has announced he won't stand at the next election.
It comes after Mr Walker landed himself in hot water after he sent out a press release claiming 11,000 people from high-risk countries, specifically India, Korea and Pakistan, could be coming to town. Mr Walker was accused of racism, but stood by his comments last week.
Then yesterday he also confessed it was him who leaked confidential details about Covid-19 patients in New Zealand to the media.
Michelle Boag, who is the former National Party president, confessed it was her who'd given Mr Walker the information, having abused her position as acting CEO of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.
"I wish to thank the people of Clutha-Southland who I have loved meeting, assisting and representing over the past two and a half years," Mr Walker said in a statement.
"I sincerely apologise for my actions."
In a Facebook statement mirroring his official statement, Mr Walker also added a line saying: "I have fought hard for my community at every opportunity."
In accepting Mr Walker's decision to withdraw is candidacy, National Party leader Todd Muller said, “there was a clear breach of trust, which goes against the values National holds as a party.
"Rachel Bird, the National Party’s Southern Regional Chair, has received a letter from Hamish confirming he will withdraw as the National Party candidate for Southland.
"The National Party Board will still meet today to discuss the selection of a new candidate," Mr Muller added.
On TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, Mr Muller said he no longer wanted Mr Walker to run as the party's candidate in the Clutha-Southland electorate.
“From my perspective, his approach is completely unacceptable. It doesn’t meet New Zealand’s standards of behaviour, it doesn’t meet my standards of behaviour and it doesn’t meet the National Party’s standards of behaviour,” Mr Muller told Breakfast host John Campbell this morning.
“I have demoted him and taken his portfolios off him. I’ve also last night written to the board, expressed concern over the behaviour and judgement – serious lack of judgement – that I’ve seen in recent days, and the board are meeting today to reflect on it.”
National Party President Peter Goodfellow said in a statement this afternoon that a selection process to find a new candidate for the Southland electorate will begin "almost immediately".
"We look forward to a robust and democratic process," he said.
"On behalf of the National Party Board of Directors, I would like to apologise for any distress caused to the individuals concerned as a result of the actions of one of our Members of Parliament."