The Northern Territory's Deputy Chief Minister Willem Westra van Holthe has announced his resignation from Cabinet.
The Minister faced a barrage of criticism after it emerged he took a $650,000 loan last year with the intention of investing most of it with the CT Group, a Vietnamese company seeking to develop a 10,000-hectare dragon fruit orchard in the NT.
It also emerged he developed a romantic relationship with an employee of the CT group, Theresa Phan, at that time.
Mr Westra van Holthe denied a conflict of interest because he never went through with the investment and said his relationships never compromised Territory interests.
At Saturday's press conference, Mr Westra van Holthe — a former policeman before successfully standing for the Country Liberals (CLP) in 2008 — said: "After much thought and soul searching I have decided it is in the best interests of the CLP , the Government and Territorians more broadly that I resign from my ministerial responsibilities including that of deputy chief minister."
Mr Westra van Holthe admitted the events of recent weeks had made for "an extremely trying week personally and professionally".
"The personal smear campaign has been damaging to the Government and the CLP and ... the integrity of the CLP Government is of paramount importance," he said.
Mr Westra van Holthe said the "internal navel-gazing" had taken the focus off the work of the Country Liberal Government, which he said was "really kicking some goals".
The Member for Katherine said standing down was "the right thing to do for the Country Liberal Party and for the Government" but that the move was "by no means an admission of anything untoward".
Mr Westra van Holthe said his personal life had "been fraught with difficulties for some time", referring to a cancer scare and a separation from his wife which became public in 2015, amid claims of misuse of taxpayer funds, which he denied.
In closing, Mr Westra van Holthe said "if you'll excuse me, I have some phone calls I have to make to my family".
Mr Westra van Holthe came into the role of deputy chief minister 12 months ago, after a bizarre turn of events which saw him challenge Adam Giles in a coup announced at a 1:00am press conference.
However, the following day, after Mr Giles refused to step down, back room manoeuvring saw Mr Westra van Holthe installed as Mr Giles' deputy.
In a statement Saturday afternoon, Chief Minister Adam Giles said he had "accepted the resignation of Willem Westra van Holthe from Cabinet".
Mr Giles praised Mr Westra van Holthe's "great work" in the NT's live cattle trade and said he looked forward to "Willem's continuing contributions as the Member for Katherine".
A meeting of the CLP's parliamentary wing will be held late on Monday to decide a new deputy chief minister.
The ABC understands that will be followed by a Cabinet reshuffle sometime in the near future.
The Northern Territory is set to go to an election in August.