New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Bill English may vie to lead the ruling National Party after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister John Key. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said on Monday he is considering running for the leadership of the ruling National Party after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister John Key. "I'd personally like to be able to talk to members of the caucus and family today and tonight," English, who is also the finance minister, told reporters in Wellington. Key, who won praise for his economic stewardship after the global financial crisis, unexpectedly announced his resignation on Monday, saying it was time to leave politics after more than eight years in power. Key said he had no immediate future plans, but told reporters he would stay in parliament long enough for his center-right National Party to avoid a by-election for his seat. The National Party caucus will hold a meeting on December 12 to decide the new party leader and prime minister. Key said he would vote for his deputy and finance minister Bill English to take over, if he decided to stand. English, a political veteran who previously worked on the family farm and as a policy analyst at the Treasury Department, would likely continue with many of Key's core policies, analysts said. National elections are not expected until late 2017. Key, a multi-millionaire former foreign exchange dealer who worked at firms including Merrill Lynch, won office for the National Party in 2008, ending the nine-year rule of Labour's Helen Clark. Together Key and English won praise for their stewardship of the NZ$240 billion ($170 billion) economy in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and two devastating earthquakes near Christchurch.