National front-bench MP Katherine Rich has rocked the party with her decision to resign from her Education portfolio, and quit politics altogether at the next election.
The forty year old mother of two says she's been thinking about her future over the summer, and has decided it's time to move on to new challenges, and the responsibilities of bringing up her two young children.
The Australian-born MP is one of a handful of "social liberals" in the party, providing a positive balance to National's more traditional hard-line conservatives.
She had also succeeded in building a good profile for the party in Dunedin, a traditional Labour-stronghold which had been ignored by National for years under FPP.
She told National leader John Key of her decision last week, and still believes the party is in good heart to win this year's election.
National's senior whip Anne Tolley will take over as Education spokeswoman, and will move onto the front bench. Former school principal Allan Peachy will be the party's deputy education spokesman.
Posted at 11:10 am