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NSW Premier Mike Baird pays tribute to wife, kids in his emotional farewell to politics.

NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced he will be retiring from politics, just midway through his term in office.

Baird confirmed he will be leaving public life after ten years during an emotional press conference in Sydney this morning.

He labelled the decision a difficult one made during several weeks of discussions with his wife, Kerryn.

There is a strong personal cost that comes in public life. I felt that more than any other time in the past few month,” Baird told the media as he choked up, unable to control the emotion in his voice.

“My father and my mother and my sister are going through a serious health challenges. And, to be honest, at times I have been in pain not being able to spend the time that I should.

“This will change today.”

Baird said he made the decision to quit with his wife, Kerryn.   Image: Instagram

The leader of the NSW Liberal first broke the news of his shock exit in a statement released at around 9am on Thursday morning.

“I have decided that this is the perfect time for me to hand the reins over to a new premier," he said.

"Serving as premier of NSW has been a tremendous honour, but I have made clear from the beginning that I was in politics to make a difference, and then move on. After 10 years in public life, this moment for me has arrived."

Speaking to the press this morning, the former investment banker reiterated that he never intended to become a career politician.

"Today I can confirm, that I am retiring from politics. It hasn't been an easy decision, it has taken a lot of deliberation and I strongly believe it is the right decision," he said.

"I said many times I didn't want to become a career politician. I wanted to go as hard as I could as long as I could and then step aside. Today, I am making good on that pledge.

"It hasn't been an easy decision - it has taken a lot of deliberation - but I strongly believe it is the right decision."

Baird assumed the premiership from Barry O'Farrell in April 2014.

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A new NSW Liberal leader will be appointed in a party-room meeting, with all top positions to be spilled.

Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian is his most likely successor.

As Premier, Baird  has repeatedly come under fire for his ban on greyhound racing in NSW, now lifted, and his strong stance on Sydney's controversial lock out laws.

However, he chose to reflect on his achievements this morning, particularly his economic endeavours.

Baird thanked his many staff, the people of NSW and, importantly, his family, including his wife who he described as "lifeline".

"She has been so supportive on this journey. I love her dearly. And, I just couldn't be prouder of having her - I think she is the most incredible woman," he said.

"You know the saying, 'You're punching above your weight', well I have been punching above my weight for nearly 27 years and it has been a joy to have her, she has done such a phenomenal job at First Lady, and I thank you, darl.

"My kids, I won't embarrass them, I promised I wouldn't. But there are things that we have to do this year.

"It's an important time. We have my daughter, Kate, who has her HSC...Laura, is getting married - I feel too young to be a grandfather, I've made that very clear.

"And my son, Luke, who has always wanted me to coach his soccer team - I'm not much of a soccer player but that is something I will be doing. I love my kids.

"Like any father in the state, you're so proud and I'm incredibly proud of my wonderful kids and family."