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February 26, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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Political Round-Up

Bill English has announced his official resignation date as National Party Leader, as of 27 February 2018. The next National Party leader chosen by caucus will take over the same day.

English, surrounded by family and caucus members, spoke to the press on 13 February 2018:

“It’s been an enormous privilege to serve New Zealanders since being elected to Parliament in 1990. Over 27 years I have been privileged to work alongside so many people to improve our country … I believe now is the right time to step aside and to embark on new personal and professional opportunities.”

Winston Peters, New Zealand First leader and Deputy Prime Minister, claims he knew this would happen due to the “ruthless” nature of the National Party caucus. Peters also claims that the National Party have no viable candidates that would win in an election setting.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has commended Bill English on his time in Parliament, and for his contributions to the country.

The National Party Caucus will only have a short time to elect a new leader before English officially leaves. National’s primary concern will be electing somebody who can beat Ardern in the 2020 election. This could involve either electing somebody young and socially progressive, or sticking with somebody with a strong economic and political history.

Judith Collins MP was first to announce her intentions, the morning after English’s resignation. ‘Crusher’ Collins, known for introducing the Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure bill, has been part of National party since 1999, prior to which she was in the Labour Party. Collins’ experience in law and politics makes her a strong contender for the position.

Amy Adams, National MP for Selwyn, has also thrown her hat in the ring. While Adams has less experience in politics, her youth and gender could play in her favor if National is looking to fight fire with fire against Ardern. Adams, who focuses on social issues such as homelessness and sexual violence, would potentially bring a vital new image to the National Party for the 2020 election.

Simon Bridges has also announce his candidacy. Bridges has been MP for Tauranga since 2008 and worked as a minister during the Key Government. Bridges holds a postgraduate degree in law from Oxford, subsequently interning in the British House of Commons. His youth as another potential advantage, Bridges may be the person to lead the National Party 2020 campaign.

Mark Mitchell and Steven Joyce have also recently announced they intend to run. Mitchell is a former police officer, who created a multi-million dollar company in Iraq that provided military and security services, before coming back to New Zealand and becoming involved in politics. Joyce is a longstanding politician, currently National’s spokesperson for finance and infrastructure.

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