Bill English elected New Zealand prime minister; focus now cabinet reshuffle
New Zealand Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English speaks to members of the media in Wellington, New Zealand, December 5, 2016. REUTERS

Bill English has been elected as New Zealand's new prime minister after John key resigned last week. The centre-right National Party caucus chose English as the new leader on Monday morning. English, who will be sworn in to office later today, will go for a cabinet reshuffle which will see some current ministers leave, reports said.

The 54-year-old finance minister was the preferred candidate of Key to succeed him prime minister. "Congratulations to my good friend @honbillenglish on becoming the new leader of the @nznationalparty and the next Prime Minister of NZ," Key tweeted after English was formally elected.

After announcing his resignation Key had praised English profusely. "For 10 years now Bill and I have worked closely as a team ...I have witnessed first-hand his leadership style, his capacity for work, his grasp of the economy, his commitment to change and most of all his decency as a husband, as a father, a colleague and as a politician."

The National Party chief Peter Goodfellow said Paula Bennett has been as deputy prime minister. ""Bill and Paula are outstanding leaders who will provide a good mixture of experience and fresh thinking," Goodfellow said.

"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 added.

English has chosen Steven Joyce, the minister for economic development, as the new finance minister. The other appointments in the cabinet are expected to be completed before Christmas. Local newspapers said English indicated some ministers might leave the cabinet.

Ministers on the chopping block include Craig Foss, Louise Upston, Jo Goodhew, and Nicky Wagner as well as Sam Lotu-Iiga, News Hub reported.