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National Party in turmoil as Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams quit politics

In further blows to the National Party, former deputy leader Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams are both quitting politics. 

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The major opposition party’s week continues to be dramatic, with two senior MPs leaving. Source: Breakfast

Ms Kaye, the Auckland Central MP, took over from Paula Bennett as deputy leader when Todd Muller rolled Simon Bridges earlier this year.

However, following Mr Muller's resignation earlier this week due to health issues, she took a step back and was replaced by Gerry Brownlee.

Ms Adams, who was planning on quitting before changing her mind when Mr Muller took the leadership, has also announced her resignation today. 

In a statement this morning, Ms Kaye she decided not to stand for leader or deputy when the vote came up.

She told leader Judith Collins she wants to leave yesterday, Ms Kaye says.

"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," she says.

"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."

Ms Adams says she's decided to stick to her original plan of retiring at this election. She had changed her mind after Mr Muller became leader, taking on the role of co-ordinating the party's Covid-19 recovery plans.

“As I said at that time I decided to stay because with the scale of challenges the country was facing, I saw being able to contribute in this way as an honour and a role I could not turn down," she says.

"With Todd Muller’s decision to resign the leadership the most important issue for our party was to get a strong and effective leadership team in place without delay and I am proud at the way in which the caucus managed this. 

"I am in no doubt that in Judith Collins we have the right leader for the challenges ahead and Judith and the team have my full support."

In her own statement this morning, Ms Collins has thanked to two MPs for their "incredible contributions at very senior levels".

"They are both highly-skilled professionals who will continue to make a difference in their next careers," she says.

"I thank them for everything they have done for the National Party and New Zealand politics over the years, and I wish them the very best for the future."

'LIFE AFTER POLITICS'

This morning, National MP Mark Mitchell told TVNZ1's Breakfast he's sad to see Ms Kaye go.

"She's made an enormous contribution for our country, both in Cabinet with the education portfolio," he says.

"Let's not forget that she also had some massive health challenges to get over so of course, very sad to see her go but there's life after politics."

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Ms Kaye is the latest high-profile MP to leave the party. Source: Breakfast

In late 2016 she took time off as she battled breast cancer. 

The departure of the 40-year-old is the latest move in a tumultuous period for the party, which has its third leader of the year, just months out from the election.

Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley are other high-profile MPs leaving the party at the election.

New leader Ms Collins is announcing a cabinet reshuffle later this morning, having already replaced Michael Woodhouse with Shane Reti. 

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The major opposition party’s week continues to be dramatic, with two senior MPs leaving. Source: Breakfast