Ex-National leader, Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller announces retirement

Ex-National leader and Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller has announced he will retire from politics after more than eight years.

Muller entered Parliament in 2014 and says he tried to give "my absolute all for my community and my country".

In a statement released on Friday morning, the former National leader said "in all jobs there comes a time when, if you are honest, you start lacking the enthusiasm and energy you once had".

"After much reflection and discussion with those close to me and who know me best I have realised I have reached that point," Muller said.

"I cannot recommit to giving the National Party nor my BOP community another full three-year term."

With election 2023 looming, Muller said now is the right time for him to step down and pursue new challenges "and allow a new National candidate with fire in their belly to take on the role of MP for the Bay of Plenty seat."

Muller said the decision to step down was a hard one, adding his time in politics has been a "stimulating, challenging and at times difficult ride".

"I am a changed person through my parliamentary experience, and I hope adversity has broadened my understanding and care for the many forms of exasperation and inspiration that exist in our community."

Muller thanked National leader Christopher Luxon and deputy Nicola Willis for their support professionally and personally.

"I wish to thank them for their genuine values-based leadership."

Muller has been elected three times as the MP for Bay of Plenty and says he loves his community and Aotearoa.

"It has been an absolute privilege to have been elected three times by the people of the Bay of Plenty electorate to serve them."

In a statement released shortly after Muller's announcement, Luxon said he respected Muller's decision to call time on politics.

"Every politician needs a team behind them and I thank Todd’s family, current and former staff, and party members in his electorate for their support of him," Luxon said.

"Todd gives 110 percent of himself to whatever he does. I wish him and his family all the very best for the future."

Muller's portfolios reassigned

Muller was National's spokesperson for agriculture and climate change and Luxon has already reassigned his portfolios.

Todd McClay will take on the national agriculture spokesperson porfolio "bringing together the agriculture and trade portfolios under one spokesperson".

Simon Watts will take the portfolio climate change portfolio in addition to his current portfolios of local government and regional development.

Joseph Mooney will take the tourism portfolio from McClay and Chris Penk will become National's cyclone recovery spokesperson.

Muller's time as leader

Muller fronted a National leadership coup in May 2020, ousting Simon Bridges from the top job and becoming leader with Nikki Kaye as deputy.

After 53 days in the job, Muller resigned as leader on July 14, 2020 due to health reasons.

Muller later revealed he had become overwhelmed by anxiety and could not cope with the stress.