Former National Party leader and agriculture and climate change spokesperson Todd Muller will leave politics at this year’s election.
Muller, who was briefly National’s leader in 2020, said in a statement he will not contest the Bay of Plenty seat or seek a list position.
“In all jobs there comes a time when, if you are honest, you start lacking the enthusiasm and energy you once had,” Muller said.
It was a hard decision and Muller said his involvement in politics has been a stimulating, challenging and at times difficult ride.
He was appointed leader of National in 2020, but relinquished the role after 53 days due to mental health issues.
He had initially planned to exit parliament after the current parliamentary cycle ended but was asked to stay on by National leader Chris Luxon and deputy leader Nicola Willis, and was confirmed as National’s spokesperson on agriculture and climate change in January.
Todd McLay will take over Muller’s agriculture portfolio.
“Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis have completely reset the caucus and I firmly believe they will provide tremendous leadership at a time of great challenges for our country come October,” Muller said.
“Their support for me personally and professionally has been unequivocal and I wish to thank them for their genuine values-based leadership.”
Muller is grateful for his time in politics.
“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.”
The most satisfying times were helping locals navigate the public service, successfully advocating for greater infrastructure and services for Tauranga and the agriculture and climate change portfolios, he said.
Luxon said Muller had been a “deep-thinking and hard-working” MP.
“Politics requires an enormous commitment to do the job well and I respect Todd’s decision to call time and retire from Parliament at the upcoming election,” Luxon said.