Alalam - New Zealand
The ruling center-right National Party caucus unanimously voted for English on Monday.
After being elected, English, 54, said he was “excited and humbled” to take the top job after eight years as Key’s deputy and finance minister.
“This will be a government supporting economic growth and ensuring that the benefits of growth are widely shared,” he said.
Minister of State Services Paula Bennett, who is an indigenous Maori, was named his deputy.
It was unclear who would take over the Finance Ministry portfolio or whether English would continue to serve in that capacity himself.
National Party president Peter Goodfellow said the English and Bennett team offered “a good mixture of experience and fresh thinking.”
“Under their leadership, New Zealanders will continue to benefit from the stable government they expect, along with a dedicated focus on delivering results for families and businesses,” he said.
A Catholic and father of six, English studied commerce and literature at university and has been a member of the parliament since 1990.
He was the leader of the National Party in 2002, when the party suffered its worst election defeat.
“You learn more from losing than you do from winning,” said English.
Forty seven-year-old Bennett, who struggled in young age as a single mother, said that the fact that she was given a second chance in life by becoming deputy prime minister was “a credit to New Zealand.”
Key, who had been prime minister for eight years and party leader for 10, cited family reasons for his sudden resignation last week.
After the election of English, Key said he did not expect government policy to change under the new team.