This week, as I have no doubt you have all seen on the news, Prime Minister John Key resigned from his position.
John has been a fantastic leader for our country over the past eight years and has navigated NZ through some of the most difficult challenges in our history such as the global financial crisis, the Canterbury earthquake, and the Pike River Mine disaster.
I am sad to see him go, but I understand his decision and wish his family well. While at the time of writing we are yet to go through the process of selecting a new leader, I understand that for many young people this may be a confusing time that raises a lot of questions.
Through this week’s column I hope that I may be able to give you an insight into the political leadership of our country. John Key has held two roles concurrently.
Firstly, he has been the leader of the New Zealand National Party. This is a role John Key was elected to in 2006 while Helen Clark was Prime Minister. This made him the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is the leader of the largest opposition party – a role currently held by Andrew Little.
Secondly, he has been the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The position of Prime Minister could be described as the head of the government. He has held the position of Prime Minister because he is the top ranked MP in the governing party.
Because New Zealanders voted for a political party (National) and not specifically for a Prime Minister (John Key) we will not need to hold a national election.
Instead the leadership of the Party, and therefore the new Prime Minister, will be voted on by the National Party caucus. Caucus is a meeting of all of the Members of Parliament from a particular political party and occurs every Tuesday that Parliament sits. We meet to discuss policy ideas, political campaigns, and from time to time select leaders.
It is likely by the time you read this column we will have a New Prime Minister in place working hard for New Zealand, but I hope this column helps you understand the process we have undertaken. Todd Muller MP for the Bay of Plenty