National Party MP Jackie Blue is quitting Parliament to become the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.
Dr Blue entered Parliament as a list MP in 2005 and is deputy chair of the health select committee. She said a track record of advocacy for women
was among the qualities she was bringing to the job.
But the Council of Trade Unions said Dr Blue had been a voting member of a government whose changes to pay equity, attacks on solo mothers, and early childhood education cuts have set back women's issues by years.
The CTU said the country needs an Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner who was prepared to advocate against the Government's policies on women.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford said Dr Blue had shown great support for the work of the commission over many years.
He said Dr Blue had identified youth unemployment and underachievement in Maori and Pacific communities as particular areas of concern.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said she was confident Dr Blue would be a very capable Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, because she was committed to human rights and equity.
Jackie Blue said her new role was not a political appointment, as she applied and was interviewed just like other candidates.
Dr Blue will begin her new role on 4 June.
Former National Party MP Paul Quinn is next on the party's list.