31 Jul 2020

Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams and Nathan Guy say their goodbyes to Parliament

5:51 am on 31 July 2020

Three senior National MPs have made their valedictory speeches in Parliament, looking back at the challenges they faced during their tenure.

National MPs Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams have both announced their retirement from politics this morning.

Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams. Photo: RNZ

Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams were elected into Parliament 12 years ago and between them have held a plethora of ministerial portfolios.

Former Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy who has been in Parliament 15 years also said his goodbye.

Soon after losing the deputy leader role following the shock resignation of Todd Muller as leader, Nikki Kaye announced her resignation.

Kaye told the house last night that her reputation as a blue green politician, often meant going against the grain.

"Whether it has been my opposition to my own party's proposals of mining on Great Barrier, which saw thousands of people marching down Queen Street, or progressing marine protection in the Hauraki Gulf, I have fought for my party and my country to do more for our environment inside and outside the caucus room," she said.

One of her greatest achievements was being Education Minister, which almost didn't happen.

"In 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, as I've said before, my world broke.

"I tried to resign, the only reason that I was able to become Minister of Education was that John Key, as I cried my eyes out, said, you're not f***ing going anywhere," she said as the House filled with laughter.

She also noted some constituency cases stick out more than others.

"One involved me helping a young New Zealand girl stuck in Japan near a nuclear accident, post the tsunami.

"The short version is that, with some advocacy via Murray McCully and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in a dramatic race against time, we got her and a young Australian girl in what, I think, was one of the last taxis to Tokyo," she said.

Also departing is former Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, who takes with him his iconic sheepskin, usually draped on his seat in the house.

He remembered being put to the test during the botulism scare and when meat was stuck at the Chinese border.

"Then along came an idiot who sent a letter, a criminal blackmail hoax, where he wanted to contaminate infant formula with 1080.

"The Prime Minister stepped up an all of Government response and, at some point along the way, the Prime Minister said to me, Nathan, you're the lead on this one.

"I thought, holy moly, here we go again,' he said.

Amy Adams' noted her departure from Parliament wasn't straightforward.

"It's always good to hold some of the firsts in this place, and I'm pretty sure that I am the first MP to have retired, unretired and then re-retired all without actually leaving," she joked.

She talked about her speech after the Christchurch earthquake and times she had been compelled to speak out on her principles.

"Giving the final speech in the passing of the recent abortion law changes; talking about the death of my own mother during the euthanasia debate; and giving the apology of this Parliament to those men unjustly convicted of loving who they love as part of expunging historical convictions for homosexuality.

"In each case, the emotion was real, and it was difficult, but they were all speeches that needed to be made to be true to who I was," she said.

Next week, in the final sitting week of the term, the House will hear from the departing Labour MPs.