"Last week marked a big occasion for both the National Party and New Zealand with Bill English stepping down after an outstanding 27 years as a Member of Parliament.
Bill covered a number of vitally important portfolios over this time, serving as Minister of health, housing, education and most recently finance. It was in his role as Finance Minister that Bill did a fantastic job steadying our country through the Global Financial Crisis.
He also stepped into the role of Prime Minister after John Key stood down in 2016. He ran a remarkable campaign last year, securing National 44.4% of the party vote. It's a real shame that he didn't get the opportunity to continue as Prime Minister for another term.
It was Bill's guidance that played a huge part in clarifying my thinking and making the decision to run for Central Government in 2004. He advised me on how to manage my political aspirations without jeopardising my family nor the family farm. I'm still very appreciative of his wise wisdom.
After two weeks of internal campaigning in caucus it was great to see our new leader Simon Bridges elected with a good mandate. I have worked with Simon in cabinet for a long time and know a lot about the vast array of his credentials. He brings energy and fresh ideas that will challenge the Government and keep them on their toes. He also has a strong team of 56 MPs that have a nice blend of political experience and youthfulness. Selecting his new team is a critical early first step as we prepare for the 2020 election. I'm confident that Simon Bridges has the 'goods' to be a great leader.
Simon will lead a strong and united Caucus through to 2020 and he has my full support."