Health Minister Tony Ryall announces retirement Thursday, 27 February 2014


Health Minister Tony Ryall will retire from politics at the next election to take up employment in the private sector.

Mr Ryall, 49, has been a key figure in the National Government and is widely credited for a stable watch over the health portfolio, introducing changes without causing controversy.

His retirement announcement was unexpected and he will remain in Cabinet until the election. He said it was the right time for him to leave, but he had "greatly enjoyed" being in Parliament.

"The Government is doing very well and the National Party is in great heart."

He said he had told the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, who were "disappointed but supportive."

He said he was proud of his work as Health Minister, especially in the areas of elective surgery, faster cancer treatment, and preventive health care.

"Our health services have been transformed with a great effort by clinicians and motivated teams across the sector .. My more business-like approach has provided more services and better care for patients within a tight budgetary environment."

He said that as State Owned Enterprises Minister, he had also enjoyed working with Mr English to oversee the government share offer programme, and working on the strategies to cap public service staff.

"There is still a lot of work to do in both my portfolios and I appreciate the Prime Minister allowing me to continue my work in Cabinet until the next election."

Mr Ryall entered Parliament as MP for East Cape in 1990, aged 26. He was one of the four young ministers in National's so-called 'Brat Pack' of the late 1990s, along with Bill English, Nick Smith and Roger Sowry. He is now the MP for Bay of Plenty. He is renowned around Parliament for his flamboyant shirt and tie combinations.

He was first made a minister under the Jenny Shipley National Government in 1997, holding the portfolios of Justice, State Owned Enterprises, Local Government, Youth Affairs and Housing New Zealand Ltd.

He is married with two children.