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Andrew Little pays tribute John Key

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/12/2016

Labour leader Andrew Little says Prime Minister John Key has served New Zealand "generously and with dedication".

Mr Key's announcement on Monday that he would resign after a decade leading the National Party came as a surprise to Mr Little.

He acknowledged the role was a "tough gig" for both the Prime Minister and his family and respected his decision to step down.

"He's certainly led the country through some pretty difficult times. He's been there at the end of the global financial crisis, he's been there at the time of national disaster like the earthquakes and he's provided that reassurance at a time when New Zealand has needed it," he said.

"Today is a day to say to him about his service, thank you for serving New Zealand and for serving New Zealand well."

Mr Little is is now looking ahead but won't speculate on who will lead the National Party into next year's general election.

"It doesn't matter who it is, I'm ready to go, the Labour Party is ready to go," he said.

As well as rejuvenation within the National Party, Mr Little said there would also be new talent coming in for Labour.

He has ruled out any shock front-bench resignations before voters head to the polls but says the final slate for the election will be finalised early next year.

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