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.”
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.