Wellington, - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key resigned unexpectedly on Monday after eight years in the job.

John Key made the surprise announcement during his weekly press conference.

He set a date of 12 December for the formal resignation, the (BBC) reported.

"This has been the hardest decision I have ever made. But for me this feels the right time to go," he told a news conference in Wellington on Monday, adding that he owed it to his family to step aside.

He said he would not be seeking a fourth term in the 2017 election Key had been in power since 2008, and leader of the ruling National Party since 2006.

Source: Qatar News Agency