Green MP Holly Walker stepping down
Green MP Holly Walker will step down at the election, after family circumstances have made it too difficult for the new mum to juggle parenting and full time work.
"Unfortunately, a recent unexpected change in my family life has made it very difficult for me to continue as a Green MP. Under these circumstances, I have chosen to put my family first and withdraw myself from the Green Party list," she said.
"As most of you know, I've been juggling being a mum with being an MP for the last six months, and while I've had awesome support from my caucus colleagues and from the party, we've had a recent additional challenging family circumstance," she said.
Walker said she was proud of what she had achieved during her time in Parliament, particularly on issues of inequality and child poverty.
"I've been an advocate for transparency and open government through my work on the Lobbying Disclosure Bill. While the bill did not succeed, the lobbying and donations dramas of recent weeks have made it clear to me that there is still an urgent need for far greater transparency around this area."
Walker had "every intention" of contesting the election when she went through the party's list selection process earlier this year.
"It's been a hard decision, it's been a sad decision but I'm certain it's the right decision for me and my family."
She wouldn't comment on the circumstances, but said "we're all safe and well".
"It's essentially just a change that has caused us to reconsider our child care arrangements and reconsider our priorities as a family."
Walker will stay on as the Green Party candidate for the Hutt South electorate, campaigning for the party vote.
She said she would not campaign for the electorate vote. Hutt South is held by Labour MP Trevor Mallard.
Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said it was disappointing for the party, but she respected Walker's decision.
Parliament can be a tough place for young mums with the long hours and regular travel.
"Holly is an incredibly smart and capable young woman.
"I am sure that her decision to stand down from our list does not mean it is the last we will hear of her in public life."
As a result of Holly Walker coming off the list, all candidates below her will move up one spot.
Wellington Central candidate James Shaw will take Walker's spot at number 12, while 21-one-year-old Te Tai Hauāuru candidate and Paekākāriki Community Board chairperson Jack McDonald moves into the top 20.