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$5 on Key to step down before the middle of next year, thanks

One of the pleasures of our daily morning walk around Ponsonby/Herne Bay is stopping and chatting to other locals enjoying their long blacks and flat whites outside the numerous restaurants and cafes.

Politics is the most popular topic with left and right more or less equally represented.

There are few arguments and, remarkably, few disagreements. While we each have our loyalties and preferences, none of us is one-eyed. This also goes some way to explaining why Michelle Boag and I rarely disagree when we’re on Jim Mora’s Panel. Reasonably intelligent people… an example of false modesty, since I actually think I’m hugely intelligent and Michelle is quite smart … reasonably intelligent people are likely to agree on most things.

Until recently the talk has been around David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party and his chances of being our next Prime Minister.

The left/right consensus has been that Shearer is the wrong man for the job, but if he survives beyond mid-2013, he’s likely to get it anyway. A Labour-led coalition will win by default.

But the really interesting development among the Ponsonby/Herne Bay political intelligentsia is the number of right-wingers who expect John Key to stand down in the middle of next year. While I’m not going to risk $5 on iPredict, I’m reasonably sure there’s a more than 50:50 chance that they’re right.

Reason One is that I don’t think John Key sees himself as, or is a career politician. He’s already on record as saying that if National loses the next election he’ll move on.

Reason Two is that Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand because being Prime Minister was on his bucket list: make it big on Wall Street; make 50 million bucks, become Prime Minister of New Zealand; write a book, star in a movie with Madonna; buy Queensland… And the thing with bucket lists is, when you’ve ticked each one off, you move on.  So this is really just another version of Reason One.

Reason Three is that bucket-list people are only interested in doing things that bring them pleasure. Key isn’t having fun anymore. He has that ‘can’t be bothered’ look of someone who thought it was going to be all wine and roses – and for four years it was – but now finds that the wine has gone sour and the roses are wilting.

Reason Four is that it can only get worse. Who needs it? Who needs having to make a grovelling apology  in the House? Who needs being badgered by Gower and Garner and Soper and all those other smart-arsed pricks in the Gallery and having to be polite and keep your temper when you’d really like to tell them to shove their microphones up their arses?

Who needs being lampooned daily by the cartoonists and lectured by the editorial writers in the press? Who needs having to depend on idiots and liars to keep your majority? Who needs any of it when you’ve got 50 grand in the bank (plus megabucks of interest) and could be touring the world with your lovely wife and children on your super yacht?

Which brings me to Reason Five. Unlike most Members of Parliament, Key has options. He has options galore.

But, mostly, I think Key looks over it – tired, jaded, disillusioned. Good god, you can’t even make a bloody joke about some fat German with the ridiculous name of Dotcom without it coming back to haunt you.

Watching Key replying half a dozen times to the same question put to him half a dozen times by Paddy Gower a night or so back, I was reminded of how I feel when I have a diabetic hypo – lethargic, listless, your energy just drains out of the bottom of your legs. Not a good feeling. Not a good sign.

Maybe I’ll invest that $5 on iPredict after all.

Oh, and I forgot Reason Six: Key doesn’t like to lose.

Media trainer and commentator Dr Brian Edwards blogs at Brian Edwards Media

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Comments and questions

So Key could well go, even if National stays ahead.

But who will suceed him?

Two words: Big Gerry

I my gawd no...Steven Joyce is salivating for the role and working the media opportunities to the max. Brownlee cant even manage the shambles and inept staff of EQC let alone hand us Simpsons head on a pike as a totem to incompetence.

Consider Tim Groser - smart, ambitous, good manager

Groser is drinking the same water that addled Smith's brain.
Turning into a bit of an idiot.

Tim, not a good look, posting here without revealing yourself.

So true,he might have made some mistakes,and will probably get away with,but who wants to lead a country full of people looking for an opportunity to cut you down.
He's the best person for the Job for now...
We need a new national contender without personal be Keys wing man

A word in the first few lines of the story above caught my eye. 'Loyalty'.
I personally find it strange that anyone can be loyal to a political party no matter what.
Loyalty means that no matter what the party does, you remain a supporter. That seems crazy.
Loyalty is a two way street, and once loyalty is abused then that support is withdrawn by degrees.
Loyalty to a political party shouldn't prevent supporters calling to account the actions, behaviors and decisions of the party and it's members.

For the first time in my life, I agree with everything Brian Edwards has stated

I reckon this could be right.

I often look at Key answering the umpteenth inane stupid question asked by an aggressive reporter and can see he just thinks this is all bloody stupid.

The job isn't about running the country any more. It's about spending all your time running around putting out fires.

Fires which are not even important. Teapot tapes, dotcom tapes (or the lack thereof), who said this, who got offended by that. It's minutiae, the lot of it.

And the media seems to drive this. It's all tabloid rubbish now.

The problem is that Key hasn't been running the country. running of at the mouth maybe.

"He has that ‘can’t be bothered’ look "

Mr Edwards I reckon you have nailed it !
For a very long time the cynic in me has me telling my ever shrinking circle (as they are leaving for warmer climes) that Key is only waiting for his knighthood and he is off to home in Hawaii. Anyone who has embraced the privileged end of US lifestyle knows how wonderful it & the place is yet the only thing they cant buy is a royalty and a Sir. Not that I disagree with us dishing them out to the fabulously wealthy and perhaps if we were more mercenary in that regard we could solve the countries economic ills instead of wasting them on some of the average dross that slip through.
Key is and always has been an appeaser. I am still waiting for this great business & economic wizz kid to give us that magic plan to solve the countries problems, you know that secret be all and end all plan that will allow us to thump Australia I reckon their isn't one, never has been and worse we will never reach the Aussie standard of living instead our destiny is scratching away in this primitive maori armpit. Bring on the next clown.

If you ask me, if the greatest thing that comes out of some "Think Tank" is a cycle way, stretching the length and breadth of NZ, and lauded by the PM as an economic saviour, then you know that NZ has elected a dud, as its PM.

Absolutely right. The guy has done nothing whatsoever apart from a trivial cycleway and some tax cuts when he came in. No structural changes whatsoever to a clearly flawed economy - no move against the Kiwi housing obsession that sinks our savings rate, returns on capital and employment, and means that we cannot normalise our FX rate like everywhere else in the world is doing. And to think in his previous career he was a currency speculator. Note: in his previous career he was punting currencies, the guy was not a banker nor has he ever run or built a company so is it really surprising he has nothing to offer economically?

Pretty dammed dificult to do anything given the Earthquake and Econmomic condition that was inherited no matter who was in power, but as per usual most if not all NZ'rs, have very short memories and are always willing to chop you off at the knees.
If I were Key or Shearer I would tell NZ'rs to shove it, where the sun doesn't ever get to shine, as there must be more to a life, than to wake up in that job every day with the goons that you have to contend with..

Brian you sound like you have some sympathy for him, there, there.. Anyone hear Hugh Fletcher's interview on RNZ yesterday?... amazing, after listening to him it's clear that Johnny and his ilk are part of the problem not the solution, unfortunately so are most of all the other pollys (left and right) and the upper level public servants, they are the ones who have allowed wealth to bleed out of NZ over the past few decades resulting in the average Joe struggling and the class who put us here doing better than ever (see Doug Heffenan's 500K bonus story) If Johnny is looking over it I'm glad, off you go Johnny and perhaps next time round someone who has the real interests of NZ and NZers at heart will come on the scene and throw out the trash, I can only think of one and ain't David Shearer or Russell Norman. BTW, should someone who is likely to flit off in 8 months be selling our assets and leave us with a lifetime of unaffordable power? At least Doug's happy.

Fletcher could hardly be considered a neatral copmmentator. The Fletcher wealth came from the largese of the Labour Party way back in the preWW2 days.

Neutral? who's neutral? he does give the impression of having a lifetime of experience in big business... kick starting our mojo is not rocket science.

Why is Key under constant attack? Cause he has done nothing to fix the problems. He promised 170,000 new jobs - Yeah right, never happen(ed).
He is just a richie boy who is bored with his toy (NZ) and will move on soon.

promised 170,000 new jobs, & 170,000 left for australia, promises sweet hollowman promises from 'donnokeyo'.

Key had his OWN reasons for bringing back knighthoods. And the way they are freely dispensed, they're about as valuable as a cheap trinket bought from an Middle-Eastern bazaar.

He's promised a lot, but delivered precious little. What comes from his mouth, these days, is not too unlike air blowing around a hot, dry savannah. That signature cheesy grin has become even more fixed as of late, as well as a little wan.

However, every time I hear Shearer trying ramp up his political stocks, by attacking Key, I hear the same policeman-like voice come out of nowhere, saying: "Move along, folks. There's nothing to see here".

Promised at lot, delivered **** all. Same a Bazza O'Bama, and sure to suffer the same fate.

Reading all these nasty grizzling comments from afar makes me sad for New Zealand. I wouldn't blame John Key if he gave up on us. Sad, but not surprised.

We have a lot of small poppies, Jojo, that do a nasty line in resentment. Fortunately they are just as nasty pissing inside the Left's tent as they are pissing out of it. Just ask Shearer.

Alan 'Fox News' Wilkinson... the left, the left blah, blah. There is no left or right in New Zealand politics, there's the centre with about a millimetre each side, Hugo Chavez is left, you don't know the meaning of the word.

Poor little Lefty poppies can't put together two coherent thoughts even for their usual immediate resort to ad hominem attack. Apparently we don't have Left and Right yet I watch Fox News. Still, that is consistent - since both contradictory claims are wrong.

Pick an easier target, Paul. Like your Dear Leader.
This one is just laughing at you.

You are so right. Key is possibly the best P.M we have had for decades and certainly the most popular. But to expect him to put up with the inane drivel that passes for political journalism is just asking too much. i hope I'm wrong.

Please do tell us what makes him "the best PM we've had in decades." Popularity is not the same thing as competence. That the masses are so easily won over by a cheesy grin and a cheerleading mass media despite years of economic decline is proof that a huge overhaul of our electoral system is needed to get our public servants to start listening to and obeying their bosses, the public.This might include fewer MPs, an elimination of unelected list MPs, lower MP pay and a reduction in perks to attract higher calibre candidates who want to serve their communities and a shift away from the current party system towards Swiss-style direct democracy.

Good on ya Mr. Edwards!! It looks these days, now the smooth PM ride which was the agenda, has gone, that up & run is all that's left for the playboy


So it will be Cunliffe vs Collins?

It looks like Mr Edwards and the left in NZ are continuing to try to copy the Australian left with their constant personal attacks on Abbott. It just shows the left in NZ have no original ideas either from a policy point of view or in the "political game playing".
If John Key looks bored with alot of the interviews it is more likely because the standard of interviewing in the NZ media has hit rock bottom. Mr Edwards should devote some of his time to training on interview techniques because that was one thing he was good at.

We have a media who are uneducated and don't research and will be looked back on in 10 years as merely deomonstrating what power they have without considering any responsibility for their actions. Then we have a nation of knockers and tall poppy slashers who want politicians and taxpayers to look after them because they don't take responsibility for their own actions. Why would any intelligent and succesful person want to enter politics? Philanthropy, or giving back to a nation that gave you a chance is rare in New Zealand, and Key is admired throughout the informed world for steering NZ on the best possible course. Of course he won't want to do it forever, but he has never lived in the US despite what some say, and he wouldn't want a superyacht, so lets hope when he retires he tells NZ the truth which he could never say while needing to be elected.

By the time the next election rolls around the country is going to have such a backlog regarding housing, hospital waiting lists, ACC claims and really important services like Rape Crisis being cut to the bone. Key knows this and he also knows that he has not delivered in many other important areas as well.

I give Key and his government a FAIL.

Yawn - has Helen asked you to run this up the flagpole Brian ?

You really are a legend in your own mind .......not bad for a self made man.

Yes Anonymous, before I write or say anything I always ring Helen in New York to see if she approves or has something else she wants me to say or write. I think it's brilliant of you to have detected this. (Please don't mention to Helen that I've now let the cat out of the bag. She'd be very cross.)

Key's postion will not be an issue next year as this present Government will be voted out when you consider how it has behaved in Canterbury, there alone are 6 seats that will go. My vote will be a nil vote in protest. I know the other side probably would not have done much better but this Government via CERA simply will not listen to reason and too many quick decisions have been made, pull this and that down. I know of 2 medium sized commercial properties that were instantly classed as down, and an Australian Engineer firm saved them both and are not far from being re-tenanted and this could have happened to others instead of the COWBOY attack we experienced, such as the Christchurch Cathedral.

No, this is an ironic remark. Unfortunately, as I have discovered on hundreds of occasions, Kiwis just don't understand Irony.

"Ponsonby/Herne Bay political intelligentsia " this a comedy column now ?

I think you've outlined quite well why Mr Key is not PM material, something that Stephen Sackur touched on in his Hard Talk interview. He never entered politics to improve the lot of ordinary NZers. It was the top job or nothing. As you say, it was a goal on a list of goals to be achieved. He has deliberately set out to cultivate an unearned celebrity status by a fawning and unquestioning media and has enjoyed being feted as a star. However, the moment the going gets tough, as it has in his second term, he spits the dummy. Our multi-millionaire currency speculator PM, who has spent a fair amount of time overseas during his tenure, pays himself quite a bit more than either David Cameron or the President of the US, in what is a low income, high tax country with a miniscule population and economy. Isn't it time he started to earn his salary?

Politics is show business for ugly people. None of these clowns in Parliament have the brains to lead the change this country required. Half of them (i.e. Hipkins for Labour) have never held a job outside of politics/student politics.

Rightly or wrongly, Key was perceived as promising much after nine years of the dreadful Kommisaar Klark.
Regretfully, he has delivered little.
The big question is:Who is fit to be prime minister of NZ?
Hard to see any obvious candidates!

Interesting Brian, you are right that he can’t be bothered with the intricacies, depth of thinking, staff management and planning a PM must endure. However, suffering this for a knighthood I doubt – he’s not kissing enough babies and frankly only “academic intellectuals actively pursue hierarchy and letters before and after their names “.

Money matters to him although, so I'm inclined to think it’s more about getting through these asset sales no matter what. Making the kiwi public pay twice for an asset is creating wealth for US corporates and certain individuals whom he has learnt off . These share issues will make a lot of “in the know people rich” I’m sure…’s so wrong and so sad for New Zealand!

Does anyone really think that, in a decade, they will look back on the Key administration and say he advanced us from the agricultural and farming base that we are? (and No, 2 hollywoodmovies don't cut it)

He might be over all the inane questioning from leftie-leaning biased media and he needed to defer some major adjustments to our welfare systems due to the GFC and Christchurch earthquakes… an for as many reasons as you can find that he would want to give it all up – there’s one main reason why he will hopefully stay…

“All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing” …Edmond Burke

Our best PM in living memory still has plenty to achieve and can achieve and will want to achieve… but most of all, he won’t want to see all the hard background work just evaporate overnight with an incoming Greens/Labour/Mana/NZ 1st 4-headed Medusa monster government stuffing up all of National’s hard work to date.

Yep – there’s plenty of reasons to go – but 1 major reason why he will stay… and that’s because he hasn’t finished what he started as yet…

… and he wouldn’t want to leave NZ to the likes of Greens/Labour/Mana/NZ1st – can you imagine the horrors!

Brian if you win the $5 for me its shows Key was never interested in helping out. Just a passing fad so to speak.

Brian - thanks for the great article - at last someone who is prepared to speak it like it is ! Well done. But the problem is this country needs National to govern for another term and frankly needs John Key for a bit longer as well. Agree it has got hard - but most of that is all the moaning and wining and political game playing and news making (not reporting !) going on - we need more people focussed on improving this country - and the only ones prepared to do that right now are the National lot - none of the others would have a clue on what to do in the current economic challenges. Whoe be tide us people.

If all of you critics know what is best for NZ, why don't you stand for parliament? You are like those who berate the AB's for fumbling a pass in wet, cold, windy conditions, while sitting in the warmth of your lounge. The first line of our national anthem is appropriate for such ranting.

"A Labour-led coalition will win by default"

"John Key will step down middle of next year"

You call yourself intelligent?