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
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
"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
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
He is married with two children.