Ex-Finance Minister Steven Joyce is stepping down as an MP to seek new opportunities outside Govt; Says new leader Simon Bridges offered him any portfolio he wanted, but he turned the offer down

Former Finance Minister Steven Joyce has resigned as an MP.

Given the recent change of National Party leadership, he says he’s had the opportunity to “consider again what I would like to do over the next several years.”

Joyce was one of the five MPs who put themselves forward as leadership candidates after former leader Bill English resigned last month.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges was selected as the party’s leader by its Caucus last week.

Joyce says Bridges made a “very positive proposal” for him to stay on as an MP and contribute as a senior member of the front bench. He says the new leader gave him the choice of any portfolio.

“However, I feel that it is time for him to get a new team around him to take National forward and win in 2020 and then govern again for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

“I have offered to assist in any way I can from outside parliament and will remain a staunch supporter of the Party.”

Bridges says Joyce has made a “huge contribution” to National over his 15-year political career.

“He was someone both John Key and Bill English turned to for advice and to get things done. That meant he was given some tough tasks but he consistently rose to those challenges. And I will also continue to use him as a sounding board as the National Party looks to 2020.”

Joyce says he will return to the private sector to seek new challenges, as well spending more time with his kids.

“I have had a wonderful time in this place over the last nearly 10 years including nine years as a Minister and have been privileged to be able to make a real contribution to the development of our country.”

Joyce is a list MP and, as such, his resignation won’t trigger a by-election.

Joyce has been MP since 2008 and holding various different ministerial portfolios in the time since – including finance – Joyce has played a vital role behind the scenes of the National Party.

He chaired the review into the devastating 2002 election, where National won just 21% of the vote. He then became the party’s first general manager, managing the 2005 campaign.

He has chaired every campaign committee since then.

He says his personal highlights of being a National MP include setting up major infrastructure projects like ultrafast broadband, major motorway and expressway projects, and the electrification of Auckland’s commuter rail network.

“I have also enjoyed my involvement in the tertiary education sector, the hi-tech sector, the science sector and regional New Zealand and am proud of the progress we made as a Government in all four areas.”

More to come.