New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says he's stepping down in a surprise move.
NATURAL ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) New Zealand Prime Minister John Key unexpectedly announced his resignation on Monday (December 5), saying it was the "right time" to leave politics after more than eight years in power. "Throughout these years, I have given everything I could to this job, the job that I cherish and the country that I love. All of this has come at quite some sacrifice for the people who are dearest to me, my family. For my wife Bronagh there has been many nights and weekends spent alone. Many occasions that were important to her that I simply could not attend. My daughter Stefi and my son, Max transitioned from teenagers to young adults while coping with an extraordinary level of intrusion and pressure because of their father's job," he said. He said he had no immediate future plans, but told reporters he would stay in parliament long enough to avoid a by-election for his seat. Key, a 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. He won praise with his stewardship of the NZ$240 billion ($170 billion) economy in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and two devastating earthquakes around Christchurch. 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.