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article imageFormer New Zealand PM Bill English resigns

By AFP     Feb 12, 2018 in World

Former New Zealand prime minister Bill English announced his retirement Tuesday after failing to retain office in last year's "Jacinda-mania" general election.

English said that after 27 years in parliament he decided during his summer vacation that he wanted a break from politics.

"This is more about myself and my family having spent most of my adult life, all of their lives, with the demands of politics," the 56-year-old told reporters.

"I want the opportunity to start again on a different life."

A staunchly Catholic conservative, English served as prime minister for just under a year before being replaced by centre-left leader Jacinda Ardern in October last year.

After eight years as finance minister, he was seen as a dour replacement for the charismatic John Key but almost derailed the "Jacinda-mania" bandwagon in last year's vote.

He outpolled Ardern in the popular vote but she forged an alliance with the Greens and maverick lawmaker Winston Peters to form a coalition government.

English said he felt it was time for his National Party for anoint a new team to take to the next election, although he did not nominate a preferred successor.

Ardern paid tribute to him.

"He is a man of clear convictions who has always had a genuine concern for the well-being of New Zealanders," she said.

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