John Key resigns as Prime Minister
Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand has made a surprise announcement this morning that he is resigning his post for personal reasons. Deputy Prime Minister Bill English is expected to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. local time and the National Party caucus in parliament will elect a new leader by Christmas.
The full press release and statement by John Key as published on Beehive, the government website, is as follows:
“Prime Minister John Key announces resignation
Prime Minister John Key has advised the Governor-General and his Cabinet and caucus colleagues that will he will resign as Prime Minister on December 12.
Mr Key’s expectation is that the National Party caucus will hold a special meeting on December 12 to select a new leader. After that he will travel to Government House to resign as Prime Minister. Mr Key expects that the Governor-General will appoint the new Prime Minister soon after.
“It has been an enormous privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand, and these last eight years have been an incredible experience. Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love.
“Bronagh has made a significant sacrifice during my time in politics, and now is the right time for me to take a step back in my career and spend more time at home.“
Mr Key said that in making his decision to resign he reflected on the upcoming election campaign and the inevitable question as to whether he would serve a further three-year term as Prime Minister if National was successful at the election.
“I do not believe that if I was asked to commit to serving out a full fourth term I could look the public in the eye and say yes.
“And more than anything else in my time here, I have tried to be straight and true with New Zealanders.
“Making the decision to resign has not been easy, and I have no plans as to what comes next in my professional life.
“But for me this feels the right time to go. It leaves the Cabinet and caucus plenty of time to settle in with a new Prime Minister before heading into election year with a proud record of strong economic management.
“I am hugely confident that National can and will win the next election – just as I as am confident that the caucus has a number of people who would make a fine Prime Minister.
“Whoever the caucus votes for will have my unwavering support, but if Bill English puts his name forward then I will vote for him.
“For 10 years now Bill and I have worked closely as a team. I have witnessed first-hand 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.”
Mr Key said that he wanted to thank the Cabinet and Caucus for their loyalty and energy, and his staff for their hard work over these last eight years.
“I want to acknowledge and thank our support partners ACT, United Future and the Maori Party without whom the strong and stable government we have delivered would not have been possible.
“The Board, office holders and members of the National Party have my grateful thanks for everything they have done during my 10 years as their leader.
“I want to thank the people of the Helensville electorate who have returned me to Parliament every three years since 2002. It has been a great privilege to be their MP.”
Mr Key said that he will remain MP for Helensville before stepping down closer to the next election, therefore avoiding the cost of a by-election.”