Black Prince to retire
Foreign Minister Murray McCully will not stand again for parliament at the next election but whether that means he is willing to relinquish his portfolio before then is unclear.
In a statement announcing his intention to stand he says: "Bill English has my complete support and I want to ensure that New Zealand's international relationships have a smooth transition from the Key Government to the English Government.
"How I might best contribute to that process is a matter for the Prime Minister."
McCully first stood for Parliament in Auckland Central in 1975 and came in as the MP for East Coast Bays in 1987.
Known as “the black prince” because of his love of Machiavellian backroom politics, he acquired a reputation as a Minister for taking shortcuts and sailing close to the ethical and legislative wind.
His love of backroom politics saw him last week play an overseeing role in Paula Bennett’s bid for the deputy leadership.
Bennett used to work for him.
But he has developed a coherent foreign policy based on New Zealand's support of an international rules-based system; supporting the country's Pacific neighbours and out of that taking the lead at the UN on behalf of small island developing states while trying to maintain a balance between the United States and China.
He is currently at the UN at the Security Council where ironically he has had to confront two big failures in his term as Minister; he has been unable to get a resolution on Syria through the Council nor has been able to get a resolution on trying to move the Israel/Palestine standoff forward by acknowledging the two-state solution.
If he does stand down, potential replacements might be Gerry Brownlee, Jonathan Coleman or Todd McClay. Longer term Mark Mitchell might be seen as a replacement.