Veteran National MP Anne Tolley quits politics

Veteran National MP Anne Tolley has announced she's retiring from politics.

The East Coast MP, whose ministerial roles under the previous National Government included education, social development, Corrections and police, has been in Parliament since 1999.

"I have had tremendous support from my family throughout my political career which has spanned 34 years," the 67-year-old said on Saturday.

"My husband has lived a political widower's life, too often taking second place to the needs of my job. So the time has come for me to put life with him and our family first and to do the things we've talked about but struggled to fit into a busy political schedule."

Before entering Parliament, Tolley was deputy Mayor of Napier and a member of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council. She was ranked 11th on National's list in 2017, down from her eighth-ranking in 2011. 

Last last year she expressed interest in becoming Speaker of the House, saying she would give up her East Coast seat and going list-only.

"While no formal decisions have been made about the role of Speaker should National win Government, I know my experience as Deputy Speaker this term will stand me in good stead," she said in December.

She said she expects National's proposed replacement for her in East Coast, Tania Tapsell, will win. Tolley has held the seat since 2005, but before that it was held by Labour. 

"I am confident National has the leadership and the team to win Government in the upcoming election. I know our fantastic, hard-working candidate Tania Tapsell will win the East Coast seat, so it is a great time for me to step back, relaxed, knowing I leave it all in good hands."