National MP Alfred Ngaro has decided not to break away from National and set up his own Christian party, ending a fortnight of speculation about his political plans.
The National list MP and committed Christian has been the subject of intense speculation over recent days, after revelations he had approached National leader Simon Bridges with the idea of forming a Christian values-based party.
"You will have seen over the past 10 days that I had been approached to consider starting a faith-based party," Ngaro said in a statement this morning.
"This was always something I was considering and nothing more than that. The National Party is my home and where I want to stay.
"I have informed National Party leader Simon Bridges and my caucus colleagues that I will continue as a member of the National caucus."
Ngaro said he appreciated the support from Bridges and the National Party, which had given him the time and space to consider his options.
"I will continue to play a strong role in the National Party and be a voice to the concerns around values that people have raised with me. I look forward to campaigning strongly for National in 2020."
A breakaway Christian party could have served a similar purpose to the Act party, which traditionally has served as a coalition party for National.
Ngaro's announcement follows a turbulent fortnight in faith-based politics, after Destiny Church leaders Brian and Hannah Tamaki announced they were setting up their own political party, Coalition New Zealand. Party leader Hannah Tamaki last week asked Ngaro to "come sit with me" to discuss the possibility of working together.