Murray McCully is giving up the electorate seat he's held for nearly 30 years and says he'll retire from Parliament when his role as Foreign Minister ends.
He announced today he won't contest the East Coast Bays electorate in next year's election.
He could decide to return to Parliament as a list MP, but says that and his future role are decisions for Prime Minister John Key.
Mr McCully could only continue as Foreign Minister if National wins a fourth term in 2017.
He says his decision not to contest East Coast Bays wasn't related to his illness late last year.
Mr McCully, 63, was off work for several weeks after undergoing surgery reported to involve the removal of a potentially cancerous growth which turned out to be benign.
"It is a real privilege to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs, but it is an office that does not always sit easily with the role of a constituency MP," he said in a statement.
"When my role as Foreign Minister comes to an end it is my intention to retire from Parliament.
"Quite when that will be, and whether I seek election as a list member of Parliament in 2017, are decisions for the Prime Minister in the first instance."
Mr McCully says that at the end of this term he will have served as a local MP for 30 years.
"This is the right time for me to announce my intentions and clear the way for an orderly succession process."