Prime Minister John Key on Monday, December 5, announced his decision to resign in a week's time from his position.
Mr Key’s expectation is that the National Party caucus will hold a special meeting on December 12 to select a new leader.
In an emotional speech, Mr Key announced his decision to leave the leadership of the National Party and to step down as the prime minister of the country.
“It has been an enormous privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand, and these last eight years have been an incredible experience." Mr Key said.
Reports say that the prime minister's close staffs were made privy about this incoming announcement a day before going to public.
Mr Key’s speech suggested that he intended to give enough time to the new leader before the next general elections in 2017.
“Just a few days ago I marked the anniversary of my eighth year as Prime Minister and my tenth as leader of the National Party.
“Such an occasion seems a fitting time to not only take stock of the past 10 years, but to look forward,” Mr Key said.
He cited the immense pressure on his supportive family during his political career as the driving factor behind his resignation.
“Throughout these years, I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this 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 have been many nights and weekends spent alone, many occasions that were important to her that I simply could not attend,” he added.
Mr Key asserted that the National government is in a strong position and can certainly win the elections next year.
“The National Party is in great shape. Bill English has told me that in all his years here, ours is the most cohesive Cabinet he has seen.
“But I do not believe that, if you asked me if I was committed to serving out a fourth term that I could look the public in the eye and say yes.”
Mr Key has conveyed the Governor-General and Cabinet coalition partners that he will be leaving his position on December 12.
“This has been the hardest decision I have ever made, and I do not know what I will do next. But for me, this feels the right time to go,” Mr Key said.
Anticipating the disorient that accompanies any leadership transition, Mr Key has endorsed his trusted colleague and deputy for last 10 years, Deputy PM Bill English, if Mr English chose to bid for the leadership role.
Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little acknowledged Mr Key’s service to the nation: “John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. I wish him and his family the best for the future.
“Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the prime minister’s decision to stand down.
Mr Little acknowledged Mr Key’s leadership, stating he stood strong through global financial crises and a host of natural disasters the country faced.
“Well, he has certainly led this country through pretty difficult times. He has been there at the end of the global financial crisis, he has been there at the times of natural disaster like the earthquake in Christchurch, and he has provided that reassurance that New Zealand had needed,” Mr Little said.
The Labour leader asserted that the party has been preparing for the next general elections in 2017 and is confident to stand against any National Party candidate for the top job.
“Labour is ready and willing to contest the 2017 general election. We will present a credible choice for people and look forward to the opportunity to contest the election on our values and vision for New Zealand,” Mr Little said in a media statement.
The business community of New Zealand is calculating the aftermath of Key’s resignation may bring to the economy of the country.
"The announcement of Prime Minister John Key's resignation has come as yet another surprise and shock on the political scene this year," PwC's Corporate Treasury Advisory Roger Kerr said.