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What can New Zealand expect from Bill English?

Reporter: Owen Poland 丨 CCTV.com

12-13-2016 17:29 BJT

New Zealand's ruling National Party has appointed Finance Minister Bill English to replace the very popular outgoing leader, John Key, who resigned last week to spend more time with his family. English is a 54-year-old father of six and is seen as a much more conservative leader. 

The new deputy Prime Minister is 47 year old Paula Bennett who started out in life as unemployed teenage solo mother and has worked her way to the top of New Zealand politics.

So what can the country expect from the new leadership team?

"Any differences are more likely to be differences of style and personality than of substance. John Key was an immensely popular and very outgoing Prime Minister. Bill English is quieter, more reserved, perhaps more conservative figure than John Key," said Raymong Miller, political scientist of Auckland University.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was one of the first foreign leaders to congratulate Mr English.

"Bill is a very good friend of Australia, very well-known in Australia, he's done an outstanding job in charge of New Zealand's finances during the time of the Key government."

"One of the first tasks for the new prime Minister will be to rejuvenate his leadership team with a Cabinet reshuffle, however his biggest challenge comes next year when he leads the national party into a General Election," said Malcolm Turnbull, Australian prime minister.

And having previously led the National Party to its worst ever election defeat 16 years ago, Mr English will be under immense pressure to avoid a repeat loss.

"And with a new leader there's a possibility that their support could drop a bit, but the opposition as of now is still fairly weak so I would think that they would be optimistic, National, that they would be able to form a Government after this next election," Raymond Miller said.

As the country's Finance Minister for the past eight years, Mr English has maintained a stable and growing economy and he's promising more of the same.

"In the coming months and years, we will focus on building the roads, public transport, schools and houses needed to support a strong economy and the growing population," said Bill English.

Former Prime Minister, John Key, says his eight years in the top job was an "incredible experience" but he's looking forward to being "anonymous when he returns to Parliament as a backbencher early next year before retiring from politics in about six months time.

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