Sir John Phillip Key GNZM AC (born 9 August 1961) is a New Zealand politician who served as the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand and Leader of the New Zealand National Party. He was elected leader of the party in November 2006 and appointed Prime Minister in November 2008, resigning from both posts in December 2016.
Born in Auckland before moving to Christchurch when he was a child, Key attended the University of Canterbury and graduated in 1981 with a bachelor of commerce. He began a career in the foreign exchange market in New Zealand before moving overseas to work for Merrill Lynch, in which he became head of global foreign exchange in 1995, a position he would hold for six years. In 1999 he was appointed a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York until leaving in 2001.
Key entered the New Zealand Parliament representing the Auckland electorate of Helensville as one of the few new National members of parliament in the election of 2002 following National's significant defeat of that year. In 2004, he was appointed Finance Spokesman for National and eventually succeeded Don Brash as the National Party Leader in 2006. After two years as Leader of the Opposition, Key led his party to victory at the November 2008 general election, and repeated this feat at both the November 2011 and September 2014 elections. He was expected to lead National into the 2017 election, but on 5 December 2016 announced that he would resign as Prime Minister and leader of the National Party. He was succeeded by Bill English on 12 December 2016.
As Prime Minister, Key led the Fifth National Government of New Zealand which entered government at the beginning of the late-2000s recession in 2008. In his first term, Key's government implemented a GST rise and personal tax cuts. In February 2011, a major earthquake in Christchurch, the nation's second largest city, significantly affected the national economy and the government formed the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority in response. In its second term, Key's government announced a policy of partial privatisation of five state-owned enterprises; while the policy was enacted, voters in a citizens-initiated referendum on the issue were 2 to 1 opposed to the policy. In foreign policy, Key announced the withdrawal of New Zealand Defence Force personnel from their deployment in the war in Afghanistan, signed the Wellington Declaration with the United States and pushed for more nations to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.