Paula Bennett explains why she admires Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Retiring National MP Paula Bennett is dishing out high praise for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, just a day after she announced she was quitting politics.

Bennett, who was Deputy Prime Minister under Sir Bill English, is reflecting on 15 years in politics after revealing on Monday she would be resigning come election time. 

Speaking to The AM Show on Tuesday, Bennett said Ardern deserves respect and admitted admiration of her.

"How can you not [admire her]? She's the Prime Minister of this country and she is I think, to a whole lot of particularly young women out there, she is sitting there and she is showing them an example of how you can stand up.

"That's in respect to Jacinda and she deserves that respect, actually, in that kind of role."

Currently the Upper Harbour MP, Bennett also reflected on what it was like having former Prime Minister John Key as a mentor.

Bennett, who lost The National Party's deputy leadership role last month after she and former leader Simon Bridges were ousted by Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye, said Sir John gave her "numerous opportunities".

"I remember him making me Associate Finance and Climate Change [Minister] - really different roles I didn't think I'd be able to do."

The 51-year-old said Sir John always had her back.

"He didn't just open the door for me," she said. "He then wedged it because it was at risk of hitting my backside as I walked through because I was prone to jumping in there and saying the odd thing that was a little bit controversial."

Jacinda Ardern, left, and Paula Bennett.
Jacinda Ardern, left, and Paula Bennett. Photo credit: The AM Show

'Damn good shot'

Bennett said she believes National can "absolutely" win this year's election, under the new leadership of Muller and Kaye.

She wasn't bitter about being ousted and respects the new direction the party wants to take. 

"They're [National] in with a damn good shot," she said.

"I respect that [the] Caucus wanted [to] change and I understand it as well."

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