NZ Premier Announces Shock Resignation

NZ Premier Announces Shock ResignationNZ Premier Announces Shock Resignation

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced his resignation on December 5, saying that he would step down shortly.

“I think as a party we’re doing amazing well, as a party we’re doing really well ... But I think [leaders] tend to stay too long,” he said, adding that he had been mulling the decision over the year.

“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever made and I don’t know what I’ll do next,” he said at a press conference.

According to Channel News Asia, his center-right National Party is set to meet on December 12 to elect a new leader. 

“There is no way I could have served out a full fourth term,” Key said, citing family reasons for his departure.

“I think in reality if I served six months or a full-year, I would have inevitably had to look down the barrel of a camera and say ‘I will serve a full three years’. I would therefore have misled the public and that is not the way of operating.”

Key said will stay in parliament long enough to avoid a by-election and that he will vote for Deputy Prime Minister Bill English if he were to put his name forward for leader.

“For 10 years now, Bill and I have worked closely as a team,” said Key. “I have witnessed firsthand his leadership style, his capacity for work, his grasp of the economy, his commitment to change and most of all his decency as a husband, as a father, a colleague and as a politician,” he said.

In a statement, English thanked Key for his service to the country. “John’s intelligence, optimism and integrity as leader of the National Party and prime minister of New Zealand means he will be judged by history as one of New Zealand’s greatest leaders.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Key as “an extraordinary and inspiring world leader” in a tribute on Twitter, adding that “his resignation is a great loss” for New Zealand and the world.  

Key, 55, who is in his third term as prime minister, was first elected to the country’s top job in 2008, ending the nine-year rule of Labour’s Helen Clark. He has been the leader of the National Party since 2006 and his party was reelected to government in 2014.

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