King has 'strength and dignity' - Bennett

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett has praised her outgoing Labour rival, saying she'll miss Annette King after she retires.

Ms King announced on Wednesday she is stepping down as deputy leader of the Opposition, endorsing new Mt Albert MP Jacinda Ardern as her replacement.

Ms King joined Ms Bennett on The AM Show on Friday, the latter telling host Duncan Garner she'll really miss her opponent.

"I know she's been a great mentor and a great friend particularly to women coming through the Labour Party, but there's some of us on the other side that have always respected her as well."

Ms Bennett said she'll be proud of her political career if she ends it with the same "strength and the dignity" as Ms King, who has been the MP for Rongotai since 1996.

Ms King says she'll miss Parliament, and pointed out that MPs across the House don't actually hate each other.

"We fight our corner and we argue the toss, but when the mics are off... we're friendly to each other."

Ms Bennett said she was grateful for a bit of advice Ms King gave her early in her career.

"I was walking into Parliament and I saw Annette getting ready for the debate. I looked at Annette and sort of smiled, and she said 'you've got lipstick on your teeth', and I said 'oh thanks'!"

Ms Bennett said she's looking forward to seeing Ms Ardern in her new role, because she loves seeing women get ahead in politics.

"We need to be more representative of New Zealand and the views of a wider cross-section, so if she's another voice out there then good on her, and I'll stick up for what I believe and she'll stick up for what she believes, and we'll give it heaps."

Before the end of her last appearance on The AM Show political panel, Ms King was presented with a bouquet of flowers. Ms Bennett joked they were fresh from Garner's garden.

"That's blown the MediaWorks budget - they're massive!" Garner said.

Ms King then gave her political foe a kiss on the cheek, and bid farewell.

Newshub. 

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