Bay of Plenty MP Hon Tony Ryall spoke for the last time in the House of Representatives tonight after serving 24 years in the New Zealand Government.

Mr Ryall said it had been an "absolute privilege" to work with a group of "exceptional and highly talented people in the national party" over his time.

"My wife will tell you when we got married in 1997 I told her I'd only do another six years in Parliament," he said, speaking at the end of his eighth term.

He began his political career as a representative for the East Cape in 1990 before moving to the Eastern Bay of Plenty in 1993 and later representing the Bay of Plenty region from 1996.


Well known for his choice of colourful shirt and tie combinations, National MPs donned their own colourful collections to honour him for his valedictory speech last night.

"I have to tell you I think they are all looking absolutely fantastic this evening."

Mr Ryall had watched the Bay of Plenty region go through floods, the rena oil spill and kiwifruit collapses but was happy with his time representing the region, he said.

"I've had tremendous satisfaction from the work that we've done in the electorate.

"The people of the Bay of Plenty and East Cape and have just shown the greatest kindness and generosity to me and my family over the time and I would like to pay great tribute to the people of the Bay of Plenty."

Mr Ryall said his best employment decision had been taking on his now-mother-in-law, received by a raft of laughter from the rest of the house.

His time in Parliament had been a satisfying experience filled with great interactions with people, more recently people across the health sector, he said.

"This has been the best job in the Government, You work with quality people every day, dedicated to the welfare of New Zealanders."

Mr Ryall's valedictory speech followed on from Paul Hutchison, Phil Heatley, Eric Roy, Shane Ardern and Ross Robertson.