In Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday (2nd February) Prime Minister Jir Keith Jacka Holyoake announced his retirement.
In Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday (2nd February) Prime Minister Jir Keith Jacka Holyoake announced his retirement. Although retiring from office he does not plan to retire from politics before New Zealand's general elections in November. Sir Keith Holyoake is the longest-serving Prime Minister in the British Commonwealth and has held his office for nearly 12 years. The 68-year-old leader announced his "strong wish" to give up the leadership of the ruling National Party, and thus stop down as Prime Minister, having led his party to four successive election victories. Sir Keith was the youngest member of the New Zealand House of Representatives when first elected to Parliament in 1932 at the age of 28. He has specialised in rule by consensus and compromise, which was well illustrated by the smoothness of the transfer of power during Wednesday' Cabinet caucus.
New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John ("Jack") Marshall, won a first ballot victory as Sir Keith's successor at the caucus. Mr Marshall, who is 59, has been Sir Keith's deputy since 1957 and is best-known internationally for his tenacious handling of New Zealand's case for special treatment during Britain negotiations to enter the European Common Market. He also holds the portfolios of Overseas Trade, Labour, and Immigration, and comes to the leadership with a strong and extensive background in international dealings. Mr. Marshall, a barrister and solicitor, holds Master's Degrees in Law and Political Science, and is a prominent churchman.