Nikki Kaye has paid tribute to the "overwhelming" support from Auckland Central residents after being confirmed as National's candidate in the electorate ahead of next year's election.

Kaye has been on leave from Parliament since September, when she received her breast cancer diagnosis.

But she has today been confirmed as National's candidate for the Auckland Central electorate for the 2017 General Election.

Kaye has held the seat since 2008 and said the support of people in the electorate had given her a boost over a "tough" few months.

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"I have also been completely overwhelmed with the support I have received from Auckland Central constituents during this time. I decided to stand again as I believe there is still so much more that I can do to improve the lives of the people of Auckland Central."

Kaye, who backed English for the party leadership, has been relieved of the ACC and Civil Defence portfolios but has held on to the Associate Education and Youth portfolios.

She is likely to return to Parliament in May, and when that happens it is expected she will take over as Education Minister from Hekia Parata, who is retiring from politics at the next election.

Speaking last Sunday, English said Kaye's "progress and prognosis are good", but he did not want her to return to work too quickly.

"When you've got a minister who's recovering well with health issues you don't quite know how that's going to run," he said. "We don't want to put pressure on Nikki."

At the 2014 election, Kaye defeated Labour's Jacinda Ardern by 600 votes. She will likely be up against a new Labour candidate next year - Ardern wants to stand in the upcoming Mt Albert byelection, after David Shearer left politics to head the UN mission in South Sudan.