Bill English has resigned as leader of the National Party.
Mr English accompanied by his wife Mary and family said now was the right time to step aside. He said he had informed his party on Tuesday morning.
He said the party would now go through its process of choosing a new leader which was likely to take a couple of weeks.
“My resignation will take effect on Tuesday 27 and I intend to deliver a valedictory speech on Thursday 1 March,” he said.
He said he believed this would give the National Party time to pick a new leader and the best possible opportunity in the next election.
Mr English said he was proud of his political career particularly his work in health, rebuilding the economy after the global financial crisis and helping to rebuild Christchurch.
Mr English entered parliament in 1990 as the MP for the Wallace (now Clutha-Southland) district.
He served as a health minister, treasurer and finance minister before being appointed the party leader in 2001. After National’s election defeat in 2002 he was replaced as party leader by Don Brash the following year.
Following National’s victory in 2008 he was appointed as finance and deputy Prime Minister, and took over the leadership from John Key when he stood down in December 2016.