International desk – Bill English has been sworn in as New Zealand’s prime minister, succeeding John Key who unexpectedly resigned from office last week.
English, who was serving as finance minister and deputy prime minister for the ruling National Party, was sworn in at Government House in Wellington.
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has been named as deputy prime minister.
The appointments were confirmed after a meeting of the National Party’s caucus.
In a tweet, English said he was “excited and humbled” to be elected.
In his first speech following his election, English said he would lead a “strong team of MPs, full of ideas”.
He described Ms Bennett as “smart, accomplished and energetic”.
National Party President Peter Goodfellow said English and Bennett would be “outstanding leaders” who would “provide 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.
English joined parliament in 1990 and has held several ministerial posts in education, health and finance.
John Key said last week his decision to stand down was for family reasons and “the hardest decision I’ve ever made”.
He said he would not be seeking a fourth term in the 2017 election.