21 Nov 2014

Key elected chair of conservative union

5:28 pm on 21 November 2014

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key has been unanimously elected chair of a global union of conservative and centre-right political parties.

David Cameron, left, and John Key.

David Cameron, left, and John Key. Photo: AFP

The International Democrat Union represents more than 50 parties; its executive members meet twice a year to exchange views on policies.

John Key takes over from former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who had been in the role for 12 years.

Mr Key said he was encouraged to take over by Mr Howard and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Senior minister Hekia Parata accepted the role on Mr Key's behalf at the union's meeting in South Korea today.

The National Party was a founding member in 1983, along with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the then US Vice-President George Bush Senior.