• John Key has resigned as Prime Minister of New Zealand
• He will tender his resignation next week on Monday
• Key says his time as Prime Minister has been the most remarkable and satisfying time of his life
• He's told Newstalk ZB: "I went on my terms and so few leaders do that"
• The National Party caucus will hold a meeting on December 12 to decide the new party leader and Prime Minister
• Key has endorsed Bill English as his replacement
• English says he will not rule out a bid for the top job and will discuss it with caucus and his family over the next few days
• Key says he absolutely believes the party can win the next election
• Key's resignation has resonated around the globe with media and leaders from Australia and as far afield as China, the United States and Russia and France broadcasting the news
• After a new leader is chosen, Key will tender his resignation to the Governor-General

Prime Minister John Key has told Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams making the call to resign was the toughest decision he has ever made.

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

"By a country mile it's a magnificent job its and absolute privilege and it's a real opportunity," he said to Newstalk ZB.

"I've seen leaders stay that little bit too long."

When asked why he took the position in the first place, Key said he believed he could make a real difference to New Zealand.

"it was a unique opportunity to be part of a team that did some great things in New Zealand and will continue to do so.

He gave the example of former Australian PM John Howard.



Key said it was lonely for Bronagh who he has been married to for 32 years but denied that she had led him to make the decision.

"We talked about it and she likes the concept of me being home more but there was no ultimatum."

John Key and wife Bronagh. Photo / Supplied
John Key and wife Bronagh. Photo / Supplied

When asked why he took the position in the first place, Key said he believed he could make a real difference to New Zealand.

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"it was a unique opportunity to be part of a team that did some great things in New Zealand and will continue to do so.



"Money's not always the motivating factor."

"I haven't felt like I'm drowning underneath it I feel like I thrived on the job."

Key told Williams the timing of his resignation feels right.

"To me it feels right and I can't exactly put my finger on why. I went on my terms and so few leaders do that."

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Key told Williams that his time as Prime Minister has had both a good and bad effect on his children Max and Stephie.

He admitted being in the public eye was an intrusion for his kids, but said they also had many positive experiences.

Key said there were so many nights Bronagh spent alone or was left cooking for one.

According to Key, he did not stay until the next election, despite thinking he could get re-elected.

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"I just felt I couldn't and wouldn't stay much longer," said Key.

"Either I'm going to be deliberately misleading the public or alternatively I have to stay another two and a bit years and it's a long time."

Prime Minister John Key announcing his decision to resign. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister John Key announcing his decision to resign. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Key said his decision was not just about family but also transitioning at a time of strength for the National Party.

"I wanted to make sure that I could transition to a new Prime Minister without the baggage,"

The National Party is in a great position with a lot of funding and support, Key told Williams.

"I'm going out on a high," said Key.

"I don't want people to think I was slacking off on the job.

"You're always on call and always working and that's the nature of it. But that's what make it so exhilarating."

Joining Tristram Clayton is Newstalk ZB’s political editor Barry Soper who has just left Bill English’s press conference.

Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper says attention will now be turned to who will take over from John Key.

"Like Helen Clark, there's no natural successor in line, so this is indeed a big announcement from the Prime Minister, and totally unexpected."

Bill English and Judith Collins have both said they had not decided whether to run for the top job, but neither ruled out the possibility.