Successor to John Key is confirmed in New Zealand's top post

 
Oliver Gill
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New Zealand Parliament Reacts To Prime Minister John Key's Resignation
Bill English served as finance minister in outgoing Prime Minister John Key's government (Source: Getty)

New Zealand has a new prime minister, with frontrunner Bill English confirmed as the person to succeed John Key after his shock resignation last week.

Telling reporters he was "both excited and humbled", English announced Paula Bennett as his deputy and economic development minister Steven Joyce as the person to take over his old job in the finance ministry.

Read more: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has unexpectedly resigned

The confirmation seals quite a turnaround for the South Islander, who lost to Labour's Helen Clark 13 years ago.

However, as finance minister under outgoing PM John Key, the National Party MP has overseen New Zealand's economy going from strength to strength. Last Monday ratings agency Moody's said the country will remain one of the fastest growing triple-A rated economies.

On 5 December, John Key unexpectedly announced his resignation after eight years in power. Part way through his third term, Key said he wanted to step down in order to focus on family life.

Originally elected in 2008, Key was nicknamed "Teflon John" by the media as his reputation appeared to be impenetrable despite a number of controversies.

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Key was keen to bin the current New Zealand flag and held an unsuccessful referendum on the subject in November 2015.

Meanwhile as finance minister, English's key policies included privatising some of New Zealand's darling businesses including Air New Zealand, cutting income and corporate taxes, while increasing sales taxes.

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