The NT's Opposition leader has announced he is quitting politics.
Ahead of the NT's next election in August, Gary Higgins today said he's been dealing with several health problems and made the decision after discussions with family.
Mr Higgins will continue as the Daly local member until the election with his deputy, Lia Finocchiaro, to take over as Opposition Leader on February 1.
After the CLP's landslide defeat at the last poll, there are only the two members of the Opposition.
Mr Higgins, who was first elected in 2012 has served as sport minister, environment minister and minister for senior Territorians.
He is widely seen to have done an admirable job as Opposition leader after the flogging in 2016.
Katherine's own MP, Sandra Nelson, has also indicated she will be standing down in August as well.
Mr Higgins said he would continue to serve his electorate until the next Territory election in August.
He said his decision to step away from politics came after much thought and discussion with his family over the Christmas period.
"My reasons for resigning the role are personal, and suffice to say that I've had a number of health issues recently which need attending to and I cannot effectively serve as Opposition Leader while addressing these issues," Mr Higgins said.
"This is a personal and family decision that I've wrestled with, but I believe is the right decision.
Mr Higgins said he would "ensure a smooth transition" of the CLP leadership to Ms Finocchiaro.
His resignation speech in full:
Today I announce my intention to resign as Opposition Leader of the Northern Territory.
This is a personal and family decision which I have wrestled with but which I believe is the right decision.
I have given much thought to the matter over the Christmas period and had many discussions with my family.
My reasons for resigning the role are personal, suffice to say I have had a number of health issues recently which need attending and I cannot effectively serve as Opposition Leader while addressing those issues.
In order to ensure a smooth transition of the role, my resignation as Opposition Leader will be effective from February and I will serve the rest of the term supporting Mrs Finocchiaro and working for the electorate of Daly.
It has been a great honour to serve as the Member for Daly for eight years.
I have been humbled by the support of the electorate and been committed to its betterment.
The overwhelming desire to work for the good of the Northern Territory has driven me during my years as a parliamentarian and I will miss working for Territorians.
I strove to be a good local member, a decent contributor to parliament and, in government, a thoughtful Minister.
It will be up to others to judge me on my record - I hope their conclusions will be kind.
In August when I depart the Legislative Assembly I would have served two terms or eight years in the Parliament
In this last term as the Opposition Leader of two I set out to do the following:
Draw a line in the sand when I apologised for the behaviour of the previous CLP government. As I stated at the time, it was not good enough. And even though there were some great achievements and a plan for a prosperous Territory future, the sheer force of the unnecessary shenanigans overshadowed everything and the CLP was deservedly ousted, despite gaining more than 30 percent of the primary vote;
To restore credibility of the CLP in the minds of Territorians - to win back their trust and support by our actions and hard work. This is ongoing and the feedback has been encouraging;
To hold the Gunner Labor Government to account;
To work cooperatively with the Federal Government for the benefit of Territorians; and
To help build a new CLP team to take to the Northern Territory election as the alternative government in August 2020.
Myself and Lia have worked tirelessly to achieve these objectives and I believe we have moved ahead positively while continuing to stand up for Territorians against a government which has no vision and no idea how to govern.
The former CLP government may have failed Territorians through its behaviour but it had ideas and a plan and its achievements were for the good of the Northern Territory.
The Gunner Labor Government is extremely polished and robotic in messaging ("green shoots" anyone?).
But they are devoid of original thoughts and simply do not know how to govern.
The other part of my job - local Member for Daly - has been a challenge and a delight.
I am proud of what I have achieved for the electorate - from upgrades to necessary public infrastructure like roads to around Wadeye and bridges in the Dundee region, through to a new gas powered station at Wadeye, upgraded barge landing and the establishment of the West Daly Regional Council.
As local member I also got government to light up the Wadeye footy oval which in turn paved the way for youth diversion programs. I like to think that simple action of lighting remote and regional sporting ovals started with the Wadeye project.
It was also in my time as local member that the then CLP Government settled Australia's longest running Land Claim - Kenbi - also a part of Daly.
Daly has always been close to my heart and I was also proud to deliver funding towards a new playground at Berry Springs School, towards the final sealing of Litchfield Park Road, environmental management of the Rum Jungle Mine, upgrades to Dundee and Shady Camp boat ramps and more.
As a Minister in the last government I was grateful to be part of the team which delivered the Davis Cup, the Mitchell Street Mile, the World Rogaining Championship, more sporting and recreation facilities across the Territory and to start the discussion on developing a world class art gallery in Darwin.
We oversaw sensible changes to government rural water policy and repealed and replaced 36 year old Bushfires Management legislation.
My focus has always been on trying to deliver for my electorate and the Northern Territory. But it is now time for another chapter in my life and for a fresh face for the Parliament.
I believe Lia Finocchiaro has vision, energy and passion to lead the CLP and will continue to do a great job for her electorate and Territorians.
Until August 22 this year I shall continue to represent Daly and Territorians with dedication and drive and I will support Lia as our new leader.
Thank you to all those who have supported me and my family during my time as a Parliamentarian - it has been a privilege to serve.
Finally on a personal note, to my family and in particular my wonderful wife Rhonda who has been my rock and my love throughout this journey - I could not have done this without her....I consider myself very lucky and blessed. Thank you.
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