SINGAPORE: As Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key has helped transform the country into a “resilient and vibrant economy”, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, expressing surprise at Mr Key’s resignation announcement on Monday morning (Dec 5).
“As PM, Mr Key and his team dealt with some major challenges, including the global financial crisis and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake,” PM Lee wrote in a Facebook post on Monday evening. “He has now given his successor the best chance of taking over and building on his achievements.”
Mr Lee recalled working closely with Mr Key on defence, economic cooperation and regional issues. “Mr Key was a strong advocate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Singapore and New Zealand are two of the four countries which formed the P4, the small FTA that led to the much more ambitious TPP,” he wrote.
PM Lee added that during Mr Key’s eight-year term as prime minister, the two became “good friends”.
“He had lived and worked in Singapore before, and has a soft spot for chilli crabs,” he revealed. “We saw eye-to-eye on many issues, and got on very well.
“I shall miss John at international meetings. I wish him and his family all the best for the future,” Mr Lee said.