Newfoundland and Labrador's Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy has announced that he is stepping down from government, effective immediately.

The MHA for Carbonear-Harbour Grace made the announcement Wednesday morning.

Kennedy said he decided in the summer that he would be leaving politics.

“When I entered politics, I knew it wasn't forever for me. But once I made that decision not to run, I informed the premier and we had discussions as to the timing of my departure," he said.

"I've really enjoyed serving as a cabinet minister and serving as an MHA — there have been ups and downs, certainly — I work with a great cabinet and I've found a lot of friends in cabinet and caucus."

Kennedy said he will be returning to practising law as of Nov. 1.

Rumours started swirling about his possible departure from government on Monday.

According to Kennedy, he has mixed feelings about leaving cabinet.

"It's going to be a combination of sadness, disappointment, and also an excitement to be going on to the next phase of my career and of my life," he said.

"Politics has been a really new thing for me  it's been up and down. But one thing I've learned is that a day is a long time  a year is a lifetime in politics," Kennedy said.

"I've seen the way that things change, the ebb and the flow, but we've made some good decisions as a government, and I am not leaving because of polling results. For me, it's a question of the time is right, the time is now for me to go."

He said his departure will give Premier Kathy Dunderdale an opportunity to look at a cabinet shuffle.

Dunderdale said Kennedy was the force behind some of the biggest portfolios in the province, including Muskrat Falls.

"One of the reasons that I appointed Minister Kennedy to Natural Resources was so that he could apply his powerful intellect to the file on Muskrat. I knew that he would take it apart, that he would dissect it, that he would analyze it, that he would argue it," Dunderdale said.

"I mean, one thing that this man knows how to do — that everyone in this province recognizes — is lay out a case, and if it was the right case, the right thing to do, I knew that he was the one person that I could rely on to make those arguments, and he did."

He has been finance minister twice, and has also served in the health and natural resources portfolios.

Kennedy practised as a lawyer for 22 years before being elected in 2007.