National MP Maggie Barry to step down from Parliament in 2020

National MP Maggie Barry.
National MP Maggie Barry. Photo credit: Newshub

National MP Maggie Barry has announced she will not be seeking re-election and will retire from Parliament in 2020.

Barry, MP for North Shore for three terms, said in a statement it has been an "honour" to serve as an MP for the National Party.

"I came into Parliament with the ambition of being a voice for the most vulnerable."

When National was in power, Barry was a Cabinet minister and held the portfolios of Conservation, Seniors, as well as Arts, Culture and Heritage which is currently held by Jacinda Ardern.

"As Minister for Seniors I strongly advocated to raise awareness of the scourge of elder abuse and initiated protections against the risks that many elderly face like social isolation and loneliness," Barry said.

As former Minister for Conservation, 60-year-old Barry reflected on the "enormous privilege" of contributing to helping save threatened plant and bird species.

"By leading initiatives like Predator Free 2050, Battle for Our Birds and War on Weeds, I was able to raise awareness with the wider public about conservation solutions because at heart I believe that saving the world starts in your own backyard."

Barry is a former radio and television presenter, and was well-known for her TVNZ programme Maggie's Garden Show which ran from 1991 to 2003, which she co-produced and presented.

She was selected as the National Party candidate for North Shore in May 2011 after MP Wayne Mapp decided not to run in the 2011 General Election.

She said the highlight of her time in Parliament was being responsible for the World War I commemorations as Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister.

She said she has "every confidence" that National, under the current leadership of Simon Bridges, will win in 2020.

"I will be campaigning hard alongside my colleagues to ensure that happens," she said.

"National is the best team in politics and it has been my privilege to be part of that team since 2011."

Bridges described Barry as a "valued colleague and friend". 

"Maggie has been a great representative for the people of North Shore and a valuable member of our caucus."

Barry's resignation follows that of Amy Adams, another high-profile National MP, who announced her plans in June to retire from politics in 2020. 

Labour MP Clare Curran also announced in August that she plans to step down from politics next year.