John Key –
Last week, I announced my resignation as Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party.
This was the hardest decision I have ever had to make but for me this feels the right time to go.
Throughout my 14 years in Parliament, including eight years as Prime Minister, I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love.
Being leader of both the National Party and the country has been an incredible experience.
Along with my Cabinet and National Party Caucus colleagues, we have helped create a more confident, outward-looking and multicultural New Zealand that competes and succeeds on the world stage.
Simply put, for me, being Prime Minister has been the most remarkable, satisfying and exciting time of my life.
But despite the amazing career I have had in politics, all of this has come at quite some sacrifice for the people who are dearest to me – my family. I want to spend more time with my wife Bronagh and our two children Stephie and Max.
I have also never seen myself as a career politician, and I certainly never wanted my success in politics to be measured by how long I spent in Parliament.
More than anything else in my time in Parliament, I have tried to be straight and true with New Zealanders. I believe a leadership change, for the right reasons and handled well, is good for a political party. It allows for fresh thinking and new ideas.
For all these reasons, I made the decision to step down as Leader of the National Party and as Prime Minister.
On Monday December 12, National MPs will hold a special caucus meeting to select a new leader and later that day I will tender my resignation to the Governor-General.
The National Party is in great shape and I absolutely believe we can win the next election.
Announcing my resignation this week gives the Cabinet and National Caucus plenty of time to settle in with a new leader before heading into the next election with a proud record of strong economic management, a commitment to the most vulnerable in our society and lots of ideas to keep lifting New Zealanders up in the world.
While I intend to stay in Parliament long enough to avoid the cost and inconvenience a by-election would cause the good people of my electorate of Helensville, I will, at an appropriate time prior to the next election step down as a Member of Parliament.
On the day I walk from the Parliament buildings for the last time, I will leave a richer person for the experience, and hoping and believing that New Zealand has been well served by the Government I led.
Last but not least, I wish to put on record my everlasting gratitude to the New Zealand public for their support, faith and encouragement. It has been my absolute privilege to serve you all.