The resignation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister, To’osavili John Key, came as a surprise to Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer yesterday, Tuilaepa said he understands To’osavili's situation, especially his reasons about his family.
Tuilaepa would not be drawn into whether he would consider doing the same given his long tenure at the helm.
But he acknowledged To’osavili’s commitment to New Zealand’s development and his dedication to Samoa when he visited during the 2009 tsunami.
“I have written to him to thank him for his work as Prime Minister especially his assistance with our many developments,” said Tuilaepa.
“We saw that he had taken time to visit us during our natural disasters when we were faced with such catastrophes.”
Tuilaepa said To’osavili has actively contributed to the development of the Pacific nations – including the Pacific Forum – and his input would be missed.
“He has played a huge role in working together with the Pacific islands and supporting the developments of poor nations.”
Tuilaepa admitted he was shocked about the resignation of To’osavili.
But he understands his predicament.
He explained that a lot of the time, people forget such high-profile positions mean big sacrifices – including families.
“It’s difficult especially in this kind of position where anyone can just turn around and start criticising you with spiteful words that can harm the family and your children,” he said.
Tuilaepa said leaders have to have thick skin to deal with such criticisms but there is a time when enough is enough.
For To’osavili, Tuilaepa said he understands that his wife, Bronagh, contributed to his decision to resign.
To’osavili’s resignation shocked the world a few days ago. Bill English is likely to take up the position next week.