Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent her best wishes to former Auckland Central foe Nikki Kaye.
Kaye, a former Education Minister, announced on Thursday morning that she is stepping down from politics. It's been a chaotic week for the National Party after the sudden resignation of Todd Muller on Tuesday from the leadership position. Kaye was his deputy.
The announcement means Kaye won't contest Auckland Central at the election. She twice beat Ardern in the seat before the now-Prime Minister took on the Mt Albert electorate.
Speaking from Invercargill on Thursday, Ardern sent her best wishes to Kaye.
"While I won't speculate on some of those electoral contests, today is the day that someone I know very well has chosen to resign and I just want to acknowledge her contribution to Parliament. She has been a very experienced member who I have enjoyed working with and I wish her all the best," she said.
"Ultimately, someone with a lot of experience has retired today in Nikki and I do want to wish her all the best as someone I know personally."
Kaye's resignation leaves the Auckland Central race wide open. It has been suggested Labour could do a deal with the Green Party's Chlöe Swarbrick to try and have the Green MP elected in the seat and therefore potentially save the party if it was to poll under 5 percent.
But that is not something Ardern appears to be in favour of.
"That is not something that we have engaged in before and it is not something I see any reason to do now," she said.
"As I have said for many, many months, Labour hasn't done seat deals in the past, I see no reason to change that."
She wouldn't comment on the recent changes in the National Party, saying those were matters for them.