New Zealand PM Shocks Nation With Sudden Resignation

John Key says his wife has had too many lonely nights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2016 2:17 AM CST
New Zealand PM Abruptly Announces Resignation
See ya!   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key has suddenly called it quits after eight years in the job. He announced the shock decision at a Monday press conference, saying it was for family reasons, the New Zealand Herald reports. "This is the hardest decision I've ever made and I don't know what I'll do next," the visibly emotional PM said, telling reporters that Bronagh, his wife of 32 years, had been through "many lonely nights" and his children had endured "extraordinary levels of intrusion." He said he would like his successor to be English—Bill English, his finance minister and deputy PM. Key, who later denied reports that his wife had given him an ultimatum, said the formal resignation will take place on Dec. 12.

"All I can say is that I gave it everything I had. I have left nothing in the tank," said Key, who won a third term for his center-right National Party in elections in 2014, the BBC reports. Key, a former foreign exchange dealer nicknamed "Teflon John" for his ability to dodge scandals, leaves with his party high in the polls. "As a top trader he knows you sell stocks when they are at their highs, not lows," a lecturer in politics at the University of Otago tells Reuters. "So he's managed to leave politics on a high note and will go down in history as a popular politician." Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters that Key's resignation is "a great loss to New Zealand, a great loss to the world." He said he sent Key a message after hearing the news: "Say it ain't so, bro." (More John Key stories.)

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