Tracey Martin undecided on whether she'll stay in politics

Tracey Martin.
Tracey Martin. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

By Katie Scotcher for RNZ

New Zealand First stalwart Tracey Martin is considering walking away from the party she's dedicated more than a decade of her life to, after it was pushed out of Parliament by voters.

Martin's political career came to a screeching halt on election night, when NZ First picked up just 2.7 percent of the vote and failed to win an electorate seat.

Speaking to RNZ, Martin said she was "nowhere near" the unsuccessful campaign strategy.

In fact, she was kept far from the party's campaign by Winston Peters, who was on a long and gruelling 'Back your Future' nationwide bus tour.

Peters didn't invite her to join his marathon campaign trail tour, Martin said.

He was instead joined by less recognisable members of his party, MP Darroch Ball and candidate Talani Meikle.

"I didn't choose not to go out on the bus, I wasn't invited. So I was in Ōhāriu, campaigning in Ōhāriu," Martin said.

"I guess he felt he had the people that he needed on the bus with him."

Martin was also absent from New Zealand First's election night party in Russell, choosing to be with her staff instead.

"Over the three year period that I've been a minister, I had a great office with... brilliant public servants and I chose to be with them because the writing was on the wall, I believe.

"I wanted to make sure that I was with my staff on that day, because their lives were all going to change as well, just as much as mine."

The party's former President and Tracey's mother, Anne, was also there.

The pair resurrected New Zealand First in 2011, after it was booted from Parliament in 2008, running a campaign largely from their homes.

Despite the outcome, Martin said it was probably the best election night she has had.

"I didn't have to speak to the media. I didn't have to interact with anybody else... in an upbeat sort of positive way.

"I was with people that I've worked really hard with for the last three years."

Tracey Martin with other members of her party.
Tracey Martin with other members of her party. Photo credit: Getty

What next for New Zealand First?

The future of the party is being dealt with by New Zealand First's board, Martin said.

"My understanding right now is there is no leader, there is no deputy leader, I'm just a member of New Zealand First and nobody's approached me to be any more than that," she said.

Martin is yet to have a conversation with Winston Peters about the future of the party.

"I mean, I've had dinner with him and it's been a social dinner, and it was a good catch up after the election," she said.

Martin is yet to decide what future involvement she will have with New Zealand First.

Her party membership is valid until April next year and she has not decided if she'll renew it.

"To be frank, I don't know, I don't know yet I'm just seeing what happens."

Life outside of Parliament

Martin had never planned to become an MP when she was first selected as a New Zealand First candidate in 2008.

"I got involved with a political party, because I had the skills to organise things, I like to organise things and get a positive outcome and that's what I did for New Zealand First, between 2008 and 2011.

"In 2011, I found myself at number two on the party list and accidentally ended up in Parliament."

She did the best she could during her time at Parliament, she said.

"It was nine years of my life that I never planned to have happen and now it's over."

Martin is adjusting to life outside of Parliament. She's focusing on her new company, as well as her family's businesses too.

"It's strange, it is interesting to go from a really, really full diary to nothing," she said.

"I think you'll find that my daughter and my husband are hoping very quickly that I will find something else to do, because now the house has never been more organised, or cleaner and now I'm starting on them.

"I'll just keep moving on."