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Nikki Kaye announces she is quitting politics

Former National Party deputy leader Nikki Kaye has officially announced she is quitting politics and senior MP Amy Adams is also due to resign, RNZ understands.

Kaye, the Auckland Central MP, said that she had advised party leader Judith Collins of her resignation yesterday.

"I made the decision not to stand for Leader or Deputy on Monday and I offered my support to Judith prior to the caucus vote. While Judith made it clear to me that I would be part of her Senior leadership team and Education spokesperson, I am ready to retire. I believe Judith is absolutely the right leader for the Party at this time and I will be supporting Judith and the Party to win this election. New Zealand needs National," Kaye said in a statement.

"While I don't think it was possible to predict the events that have occurred, what I have learned from breast cancer and other life events is you can't always predict what is around the corner. I have huge respect and admiration for Todd, Michelle and their family as they work through this difficult time. I hope that people continue to show compassion for Todd.

"I have spent most of my adult life serving the public and the National Party. This is personally the right time for me to leave. Cancer has taught me that life can change in a moment and I am ready for the next chapter."

Collins is scheduled to announce a reshuffle this morning and declined to comment.

Collins had said today's reshuffle was to be minor one, but it now looks likely to be much more significant.

In her first day in the job, Collins yesterday demoted senior MP Michael Woodhouse, dropping him from the health spokesperson role because of his involvement in the Covid-19 data leak saga.

National stalwart Michelle Boag had sent him four emails containing private Covid-19 patient information and he did not tell then-leader Todd Muller for two weeks.

In the wake of the revelations Boag resigned from her campaign and electorate roles for Kaye.

Boag was responsible for leaking Covid-19 patients details to National MP Hamish Walker, who announced he won't be standing again at the election.

Nikki Kaye's electorate office. Photo: RNZ / Jean Bell

As deputy leader, Kaye did not have a smooth run, incorrectly saying Paul Goldsmith was one of the Māori MPs in the shadow cabinet, leaving Goldsmith to contradict her.

She became deputy - taking over from Paula Bennett - in May, alongside Todd Muller, who had rolled Simon Bridges from the top job. Muller resigned suddenly on Tuesday morning saying it had become clear to him that he was not the best person for the role and it had taken a toll on his health. Kaye chose not to seek the job again when Muller stepped down and was replaced by Gerry Brownlee.

Kaye won the former Labour stronghold of Auckland Central in 2008. She was re-elected in 2011 and 2014 - beating Jacinda Ardern, then a Labour list MP. She stepped back from her roles while receiving treament for breast cancer, and returned to defend the seat in 2017.