The Prime Minister, John Key, surprised the country yesterday, by announcing his resignation. Although it seemed like a sudden decision, he said he had decided more than a month ago. It is very unusual to resign as Prime Minister when the government is doing well in the opinion polls. John Key himself has been a popular figure. Most Prime Ministers resign after they lose an election and are therefore unpopular with their own party.
He gave a number of reasons for his decision. He gave the usual reason “to spend more time with the family” but he also said, “I gave it everything I had. I have nothing left in the tank.” Here he is comparing himself to an empty petrol tank in a car. It is true that he has travelled overseas extensively during his time as Prime Minister, attending conferences, meeting with other heads of state, and trying to increase New Zealand’s trade with other countries. He has also visited places after a disaster like an earthquake to show his support and to say the government would give financial help. He is probably exhausted.
On Monday, the National Party caucus meets to choose a new political leader who will be our Prime Minister at least until the elections in November next year. Mr Key recommended the Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English. However, two other Ministers now plan to offer their names on Monday. They are Judith Collins who is Minister of Police and Jonathon Coleman who is Minister of Health. It is possible some other ministers could add their names before Monday.
• resign (v), resignation (n) – give up a job
• opinion polls – an informal way of finding out what people think; often by a phone call, asking people who they would vote for
• extensively (adv) – widely
• exhausted (adj) – very, very tired
• caucus (n) – all the National Members of Parliament
• at least (phrase) – the minimum but it could be more