In a surprising move, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key announced his resignation during a weekly press conference in Wellington on 5 December 2016. He cited family reasons for his sudden exit.
Key will be leaving the post after almost eight years of service. Explaining his decision, he stated that there was no way he could have sat through an entire fourth term. He, however, does plan to stay long enough to avoid by-election for his seat.
About John Key
• He started his career as a foreign exchange dealer and then went on to become the head of global foreign exchange at Merril Lynch in 1995.
• He was also appointed as a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
• He entered politics through New Zealand National Party. He was one of the few new National members of Parliament in the 2002 elections.
• He was appointed as the Finance Spokesman of the party in 2004 and two years later, he succeeded Don Brash as its new leader.
• After serving as the leader of Opposition for two years, Key led his party to victory in 2008 elections and became the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand.
• His winning streak continued into the next two general elections as well, which were held subsequently in 2011 and 2014.
Overall, Key’s governance was well appreciated, especially in the way how he steered New Zealand’s economy out of deep crisis following the recession in the late 2000s and a major earthquake in the country’s second largest city, Christchurch.
His resignation will be effective from 12 December 2016. The National Party would be convening on the same day to decide his successor. The most likely candidate for the role would be current deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Bill English.