John Key, New Zealand PM to resign
New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, in an unexpected announcement said that he would be resigning from the Prime Minister's position Key has enjoyed considerable popularity over his 8-year term and was widely believed to contest the fourth general election scheduled for next year. He said personal sacrifices for the job had taken a toll and he could not commit to a fourth-term.
John Key, 55-years old, is the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand. Key trained as an accountant and started his career as a currency trader. He was Merill Lynch's Global Head of Foreign Exchange, a few years before entering politics. He became lawmaker in 2002 and and won his first general election to become PM in 2008.
Highlights of John Key's tenure
Post 2008 economic crisis, John Key's tax-cutting programme is credited for bringing the country out of recession in 2014. In 2010 and 2011, Key was widely praised for his work in the aftermath of Christchurch earthquakes that killed 185 people. Key threw his weight behind 'Trans Pacific Partnership,' a massive trade-deal signed in 2016 that is expected to be hugely beneficial for New Zealand.
Excerpts from Key's speech
Key said, "Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love." He explained that "All of this has come at quite some sacrifice for the people who are dearest to me- my family." Key's children had coped with "an extraordinary level of intrusion"; Key believed it was "time to go home."
Key: Not a 'career politician'
John Key said: "Despite the amazing career I have had in politics, I have never seen myself as a career politician. I have certainly never wanted my success in politics to be measured by how long I spent in Parliament."
What follows next?
John Key's resignation as PM and party leader is expected to come into effect from next week on December 12, 2016. Key's party, the National Party, would meet on the same day to decide on a new party leader and prime minister; Key has indicated he backs deputy PM, Bill English for the role. Key however has no specific plans for life after politics.