27 Jun 2020

Lockdown gave Tolley time to think about retirement

2:24 pm on 27 June 2020

Veteran National MP Anne Tolley says the time she spent in Covid-19 lockdown influenced her decision to retire from politics at September's election.

Anne Tolley

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Tolley was first elected in 1999 and has been the MP for East Coast since 2005.

She was a Minister in John Key's government with portfolios including education, corrections, police, social development, youth, children and local government.

More recently, she has been Deputy Speaker of the House and has been involved in several groups representing women parliamentarians.

Tania Tapsell is National's new candidate for East Coast.

Tania Tapsell Photo: Supplied

Tania Tapsell will be National's new candidate in the East Coast electorate.

Last December Tolley announced she would give up her electorate seat to run as a list-only candidate at this year's election.

She was regarded as the biggest loser when Todd Muller took over leadership of the National Party last month, ending up with a low caucus ranking.

Tolley told RNZ being in lockdown with her husband had given her time to think.

She said she was looking forward to doing things with her family that she had struggled to fit into a busy political schedule.

"I have had tremendous support from my family throughout my political career which has spanned 34 years. 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."

Tolley said she is grateful for the support people in her electorate have given her while membership of the National Party has brought many "amazing opportunities".

She gave the keynote address at the United Nations Development Programme's Pacific women in power forum and also co-led a workshop in Turkey for women's political participation, to increase their representation in Turkish Parliament.

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