20 January 2018

New Zealand finance minister set to become next PM

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New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English is set to be confirmed as the country's next leader after both his competitors for the prime ministership dropped out of the race on Thursday.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Police Minister Judith Collins both conceded the race as it became clear that English had the support of the 59-member caucus.

English said the swift agreement within the ruling center-right National Party on a new leader would help the government ensure a smooth transition following John Key's surprise resignation earlier this week.

"It's going to allow us as a government to re-set, look forward and provide New Zealand with good government after John Key," English told reporters in New Zealand's distinctive "Beehive" parliament building in the capital, Wellington.

English, who will be formally named the prime minister at a caucus meeting on Monday, has already lined up senior cabinet minister Steven Joyce, the minister for economic development, to replace him in the finance ministry.

English was the clear favorite to replace Key in a Fairfax-Nielsen poll, with 37 percent of New Zealanders surveyed backing him.

2016.12.08 / 09:00
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