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Bill English elected as New Zealand’s new Prime Minister

Dec 12, 2016 11:47 IST

Bill EnglishNew Zealand’s National party has chosen Bill English as the country’s 39th Prime Minister. He will be succeeding John Key, who announced his surprise resignation last week.

English’s name was confirmed for the role during a National Party meeting, which took place early on 12 December 2016. He was formerly serving the nation as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance (MoF).

New Zealand PM announces surprise resignation

While Paul Bennett will be replacing English as the new Deputy PM, senior Cabinet minister Steven Joyce has been named as the new finance minister.

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About Bill English

  • He has been a politician for 26 years. He entered politics in 1990 when he was elected to the Parliament as a National Party candidate.
  • Prior to it, he was a farmer and a public servant with degrees in commerce and literature,
  • He was first appointed as the Finance Minister in 1999 but he couldn’t complete even a year in office, as his party got defeated in the elections held in the same year.
  • He replaced Jenny Shipley as the leader of the National Party in 2001. However, he was replaced by Don Brash in 2003 following the party’s worst election defeat in 2002.
  • In November 2006, he was named deputy under John Key’s leadership and after the party’s 2008 win, he was sworn in as both Deputy PM and MoF, a role which he continued to handle until 2016.
  • Under his leadership, the country saw a commendable growth in its annual GDP and a fall in the unemployment rate.

English’s name was suggested for the role by outgoing PM John Key himself, as a result of which he won the nomination unopposed. The two other contenders, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Corrections Minister Judith Collins, conceded defeat last week itself.

In his new role, English will get to decide the date of next year’s general election. An early vote is much expected. Outgoing PM John Key, who was widely expected to win his fourth straight election next year, explained his sudden resignation by saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family and couldn’t have possibly sat through an entire fourth term.

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