Duncan Garner quizzes Bill English on who will be new National leader

National leader Bill English has announced he's on his way out of the party after nearly three decades in politics - but he's remaining tight-lipped on who is likely to replace him.

Mr English announced his resignation from the party and Parliament on Tuesday, and revealed he'd be stepping down on February 27 - giving his top MPs two weeks to push for National's top job.

But despite intense questioning from The AM Show host Duncan Garner on who he was picking to be his successor, Mr English refused to budge.

"Simon Bridges?" Garner asked.

"No I'm not going to comment on that at all, as you know," Mr English replied.

"Judith Collins?" Garner tried again.

"I'm not going to comment, as you know."

"Amy Adams?"

"I'll have to say the same thing again: I'm not going to comment," Mr English said again, breaking into a wry smile.

"You get two weeks of this game, Duncan, I know you're going to enjoy it.

"I'm not making any guesses. They'll be thinking about it pretty hard right now. I've got one vote right now like everyone in the caucus.

"I've got confidence in National's MPs. I'm sure they'll pick a capable leader who will do that job, and we'll go off and have a new life."

Mr English said he and wife Mary decided that he would step down over the Christmas period - and while he admitted he'd miss Parliament, he said he'd manage not being there.

"I'm quite looking forward to it [and] enjoying the uncertainty. We've had politics and school for 25 years, so a lot of my life was predetermined," he said.

A future in pizza?

Mr English says he hopes he'll get a few job offers, and admitted he might take up one pizza parlour's offer to launch its new product: a spaghetti pizza.

He added that despite two election losses, he has "no regrets" about his time in Parliament - even in his most recent defeat to what he says is "a very weak Government".

"They've got a popular Prime Minister at the moment, but it's going to find it very hard to get things done," he said.

"I've been here a long time and enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. There's been a few downers, but mostly it's a place with lots of energy, lots of debate and lots of opportunity for influence.

"When I walk out I'm looking forward to life outside of the public world. It's all my family have known for almost 30 years."

Mr English said while he tried his best to separate his political life from his personal life, his family still bore the brunt of his career choice.

"I always went home at tea time. We had a rule that there'd be no politics at home, so that meant that I could be fully involved as a parent.

"We tried to protect our kids from it, but they were secretly reading the newspaper and developing views [on politics].


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