John Key today announced that he is resigning as Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Key made the announcement at his weekly press conference this afternoon.

Born in Auckland in 1961, Key and his two sisters were raised in a state house in Christchurch by his mother following the death of his father.

Key attended the University of Canterbury and earned a Bachelor of Commerce in 1981. He has also attended courses at Harvard University.

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Key met his wife, Bronagh, while attending Burnside High School. The pair married in 1984 and have two children, Stephie and Max.

Key built a career in foreign exchange in New Zealand before continued success in the industry in Singapore, London and New York.

In 1998, National Party president John Slater learned of Key's interest in politics and, alongside Jenny Shipley, recruited him to join the New Zealand National Party.

He entered Parliament in 2002 as National's representative for Helensville. In 2004 he was appointed Finance Spokesman for the party and succeeded Don Brash as party leader in 2006.

Key led his party to win the election in November 2008 after nine years of a Labour-run Government. The Key-led National Party repeated the victory in 2011 and 2014.

Key has governed the country through the recession of the late-2000s, formed the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority in response to the aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake and led the country following the Pike River disaster.

Key also worked to create the much-protested policy for the partial privitisation of state-owned enterprises, including Meridian and Mighty River Power, Genesis and Solid Energy.

Overseas, Key has withdrawn the NZ Defence Force from Afghanistan, attended the Queen's residence at Balmoral, improved relations with the United states and aimed to establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership.