2020 election: National's Paula Bennett will not seek re-election as MP for Upper Harbour

Paula Bennett will not seek re-election for Upper Harbour in 2020.
Paula Bennett will not seek re-election for Upper Harbour in 2020. Photo credit: Newshub.

National MP Paula Bennett says she will not be seeking re-election as MP for Upper Harbour in next year's election.  

Bennett has been appointed as National's campaign chair for the 2020 election and said being the party's campaign chair will be a "massive commitment" and one that she wants to give "100 percent" of herself to. 

"As such I won't be seeking re-election as the MP for Upper Harbour but will be on the National Party's List," Bennett said in a statement Wednesday. 

"I believe Upper Harbour deserves a candidate who is completely focused on them and being List only will allow me to run an energised, new look campaign that is focused on New Zealanders and their lives."

The National Party's president Peter Goodfellow has labelled Bennett "an incredible campaigner" and acknowledged her "over a decade of political experience". 

"She brings the right level of skills, energy and enthusiasm we need to run the most comprehensive campaign we can deliver."

He said National's candidate selection process has already begun and that the party's "wider organisation of tens of thousands of members, volunteers and supporters are gearing up to fight this campaign with everything we've got". 

Bennett first entered Parliament as a list MP after failing to win the now abolished Waitakere seat. She won the seat in the 2008 election and was appointed to several Cabinet roles in John Key's government. 

The 2013-2014 electoral boundary review saw Bennett's Waitakere electorate abolished in favour of two new electorates in west Auckland, Kelston and Upper Harbour. 

She won the Upper Harbour seat in the 2014 election, when National was re-elected, and she won it again in the 2017 election, despite Labour coming to power. 

Bennett served as Deputy Prime Minister from December 2016 to October 2017 after Bill English became Prime Minister, following John Key's resignation.