Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye bowed out of Parliament tonight, dropping the F-bomb in the process.

She recalled a day in 2016 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, crying her eyes out and she tried to resign when Prime Minister John Key said "you are not f****** going anywhere".

Key was in the House when she made the comment.

Kaye, whose early roles as a cabinet minister were as Minister of Youth, ACC and Civil Defence, became Minister of Education under Sir Bill English's leadership in May 2017, said her love and passion was in education.


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She also revealed that one of the best times in her life was becoming the first National MP to win the seat of Auckland Central, and listed many achievements and people she has helped over 12 years, from rough sleepers to marine protection of the Hauraki Gulf.

Kaye was renowned as a hard-working campaigner, becoming the first person to win the Auckland Central seat off Labour in 2008. She held on to it by a slim margin for the next three elections, beating Labour's Jacinda Ardern in two of those.

Kaye is considered the urban liberal of National, advocating a more liberal position than many of her colleagues on issues from the environment to social issues such as gay rights and abortion.

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"I have fought for my party and my country to do more for our environment inside and outside the caucus room. People still cross the street to thank me for stopping mining in the Coromandel and on the (Great) Barrier," she said.

Kaye said it had been the toughest parts of her personal life that had made her be a better MP and cabinet minister, listing how her parents split up when she was young, a step-brother charged with murder, being diagnosed with breast cancer at 36. This led to her stepping down as a minister while she received treatment including a double mastectomy.

"I have learnt when your world breaks and shatters you can be your most powerful," she said.

Nikki Kaye has no regrets backing Todd Muller for leader and becoming his deputy. Photo / NZ Herald
Nikki Kaye has no regrets backing Todd Muller for leader and becoming his deputy. Photo / NZ Herald

Kaye was deputy leader to Todd Muller, and helped him organise his challenge against Simon Bridges in July.

She said she backed Muller for the leadership because she believed in him and his capacity to set a vision for New Zealand that was green-blue, bold, fair and outward looking.

"It was a very short time in the role but I still believe in you Todd ... I do not believe what occurred was predictable or preventable. It was a privilege to be your deputy leader," Kaye said.

She decided to leave Parliament after Muller stood down less than two months later.

Kaye left saying she wanted to keep serving New Zealand, but said she might be a hippie for a while, dropping a strong hint she could be living the hippie life on Great Barrier Island.