Former North Shore Mayor and MP Andrew Williams still keeps an eye on politics - but gardening at his new home and guest accommodation in Taupo takes up more of his semi-retirement.

After an acrimonious split from NZ First before the last election, life is now more relaxed.

Williams, who was North Shore Mayor from 2007 to 2010 and entered Parliament on NZ First's list in 2011, has opened guest accommodation at Taupo's Acacia Bay with his wife Jane.

The couple designed Fairbairn House and had it built in 2015, including a self-contained guest wing for holiday accommodation, which opened on September 1.

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Andrew Williams, former North Shore Mayor and MP, and wife Jane. Photo supplied.
Andrew Williams, former North Shore Mayor and MP, and wife Jane. Photo supplied.

"We have a 5300m2 garden to develop and have planted over 500 plants so far. Many more to go - a lot of digging," Williams told the Herald.

"We had been contemplating a complete lifestyle change from Auckland city life to live in a more rural setting. We chose Taupo, having holidayed here since childhood and having our honeymoon here in 1981."

Williams said when he and Jane aren't in the garden, they play golf, get out on the lake, bike, tramp and camp in the region.

He still had an interest in politics and kept in touch with some who were still involved, but he doesn't bother watching Question Time anymore.

"I miss the engagement of politics having been an MP and Mayor, and so I do follow what's happening in both central and local government."

Williams said he felt his predictions that the creation of Auckland's "super city" would hurt local community representation had played out, and that was a "great pity".

Reflecting on his political career, Williams said he found being an MP provided a genuine opportunity to help people and make a difference.

"It is disappointing that a lot of the work MPs do, much of it behind the scenes, is not known to most of the public.

"The media tends to focus on the leaders and the major news of the day, but the work of select committees and individual MPs and their staff goes mostly unnoticed."