Shock announcement: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key resigns
John Key is resigning as Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Key made the announcement at his weekly press conference this afternoon.
The Herald understands that Key’s wife Bronagh asked him to resign.
Key, his voice shaking with emotion, said he told his Cabinet of his decision this morning
“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever made and I don’t know what I’ll do next.”
Key cited family reasons for leaving, saying the job had required great sacrifices “from those who are dearest to me”.
His wife Bronagh had endured “many lonely nights” and his children Stephie and Max had been put under “extraordinary levels of intrusion”.
Key met his wife Bronagh while attending Burnside High School. The pair married in 1984 and have two children, Stephie and Max.
Bill English is expected to take over as Prime Minister and Steven Joyce is expected to take on the finance role.
The National Party caucus will hold a meeting on December 12 to decide the new party leader and Prime Minister.
Key said he would support whoever the caucus chose, but he endorsed Bill English as his replacement.
“There’s no way I could have served out a full fourth term,” said Key.
Watch: Prime Minister John Key resigns in shock announcement
Being a politician had always come at a cost for his family he said.
Key said leaders seemed to stay too long and he felt this was the opportunity to go out on top.
He said he didn’t have any plans. He was looking forward to enjoying a slightly quieter life in which he would take posts on boards and spend time travelling with his spouse.
He also said it was the right time to leave, as National were polling at nearly 50 per cent and the economy was growing.
Asked what his legacy would be, Key said stabilising and growing New Zealand’s economy after the global financial crisis and weathering crises such as the Canterbury earthquakes.
Key said his main regrets were failing to ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership, not getting the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary opened, and not changing the national flag.
He had “given everything” to the job but had “nothing left in the tank”.
Key cancelled his weekly scheduled interview with NewstalkZB at the NZME offices in Auckland this morning, and instead was interviewed over the phone from Wellington.
Labour leader Andrew Little tweeted his well wishes to Key.
See video and more information at this MSM link.
TIME TO DIG FOLKS!