Bill English is the New Zealand's Next Prime Minister!

New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English became the presumptive prime minister on Thursday as his two challengers pulled out of the race to succeed John Key.

English, a farmer with degrees in commerce and literature, has been in parliament since 1990 and was previously leader of the National Party in 2002 when it suffered its first election defeat.

Local media had earlier reported that the 54-year-old Mr English had majority support within the ruling National Party caucus.

English's economic credentials were boosted by the release of the government's half yearly economic and fiscal update on December 8, which forecast economic growth of 3.6% in the year to June 2017, followed by 3.5% in the following year. Both of them have said that Bil English had got major support from the Cabinet and Parliament to be the next Prime Minister and even they will also back Bill English now. Key has been New Zealand's leader since 2008, heading up the National Party, over a period marked by political stability and economic reform.

A special National Party caucus meeting, due to be held next Monday, will now nearly certainly confirm English in the role and also vote on who will become deputy prime minister.

Mr Key has been prime minister for eight years and National Party leader for 10. English had served as Key's finance minister in three terms of government.

English was the clear favorite to replace Key in a Fairfax-Nielsen poll, with 37 percent of New Zealanders surveyed backing him. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman withdrew from the contest at 4.30pm.

"We've got an enormous range of talent, I think we're going to be able to run a very successful government", he told Newshub on Friday.

Mr English said he had learned from the experience.

"Economic growth is expected to average around 3% over the next five years - considerably stronger than forecast in [the government's 2016 budget presentation] - supporting more jobs, falling unemployment and higher incomes", English said.

The government's half-year economic and fiscal update showed it expects to post a NZ$473 million ($341.13 million) surplus in the year to June 2017, lower than its prior forecast of NZ$719 million.

English said he will deliver tax cuts and spread the country's growing wealth to where it is needed.

The party's 59 parliamentarians must still elect a new deputy leader when they meet next week, with Transport Minister Simon Bridges and State Services Minister Paula Bennett both seeking the role.