National Party leader Simon William “Bill” English has stepped down and will resign from Parliament this month.
English first entered Parliament in 1990 and served as Prime Minister after taking over from John Key.
During his time as an MP, he focused on helping Christchurch recover from major earthquakes, and helped lead New Zealand through the Global Financial Crisis.
English replaced Jenny Shipley, the first female Prime Minister of New Zealand, in 2001.
The National Party were in disarray during the 2002 election with English as leader, suffering their worst ever electoral defeat of just over 20%.
Bill English’s resignation comes after claims he would lead the Party into the 2020 election, also confirmed by senior members of the National Party.
However, English was criticized by voters as being boring and dull throughout his 2017 election campaign. His resignation could shine a new light on a leader who is positive and exciting, something English lacked.
In an emotional speech, English said the National Party caucus believed he needed a successor in order to make the party more appealing.
“National’s two-day Caucus meeting last week confirmed to me that our team has the talent, the ideas and the energy to return to government in 2020. It’s important that National’s new Leader has the time and the best possible opportunity to achieve that.”
English admitted he would also be quitting his job as an MP after 27 years of service. His valedictory statement will be on the 1st of March. The tearful politician implied that this wouldn’t be a retirement, and said he will go on to new “personal challenges” after his resignation. Still, he can finally hang up the blazer and take a breath of fresh air.
English officially quits as the leader of the National Party on the 27th of February. After that, the race is on for a new and vibrant frontrunner. The former PM wouldn’t comment on who he would endorse to be his successor, but said he would be able to vote for his preference.
English ended the speech by thanking his wife and children for living with the demands of public service.
“You have been my inspiration and pride and I now look forward to a new life together.”