In a surprise announcement, National Party leader Bill English has resigned. The 56-year-old politician said: “I’m resigning as the leader of the National Party and will leave Parliament. My resignation will take effect on Tuesday 27th of February and I will give a valedictory speech at this time. I believe this will give National’s new leader the time and the best possible opportunity to prepare the party for the 2020 election.”
English spoke of his appreciation for the opportunity to serve New Zealand. “It’s been a huge privilege to serve in the party and to serve in Parliament since I was first elected 27 years ago. I’m proud of the innovative work I have done as Health Minister in the ’90s and then as Finance Minister through the GFC”, he said.
“I’ve been lucky to be able to be able to come to work every day with a sense of mission, but also to work with people who share that sense of mission”, he added. “In recent years I enjoyed the development of Social Investment and new ways of the Crown working with Maori to make a real difference, and I am honoured to lead New Zealand as Prime Minister”.
When asked if he would consider another political role, English said: “I haven’t looked into that at all”. He said one of his most satisfying achievements was “pretty much every day I came into this building I had a sense of achieving something and got on with things”. Another highlight was “getting New Zealand into a position with a growing economy and a well-organised government”.
When asked about his legacy, English said: “I’m not a great believer in legacies – you’ve have to be satisfied with what you do and your actions in politics, on behalf of the people in New Zealand that you care about”. English thanked “many people, inside and outside of Parliament”, before turning to his wife and sons. “Your strength and tolerance has enabled my career, nowIi look forward to our time together”, he said.
As for what’s next, English said he will “embark on new personal and professional opportunities”.