English to be Prime Minister

In what Peter Dunne as referred to as “as quick and slick a contest as I can recall” Bill English was confirmed as the next Prime Minister this afternoon as endorsements from National MPs kept rolling in through the day, and then Judith Collins conceded early this afternoon, followed by Jonathan Coleman late this afternoon.

So it is confirmed that English will take over from John Key, presumably as planned early next week.

His deputy is still to be decided by the National caucus, possibly by vote on Monday, but it looks like his heir apparent Paula Bennett will get that spot.

English has already indicated that Steven Joyce will take over from him as Minister of Finance.

There will be a lot of interest in who English names in his Cabinet, with special attention on whether Collins and Coleman will retain or improve their rankings or get demoted, and how the carrots get dished out to supporting MPs.

National should benefit from having been seen to have at least some semblance of a contest rather than an uncontested passing of the PM batten, but this was a quick and ruthless leadership change.

Soon Parliament will shut down for the summer break so that will give English and his new team (which may contain more than a smattering of same old)  to sort themselves out ready for an election year.

With a likely by-election if David Shearer leaves for a UN job in South Sudan talk of an early election has increased, but I suspect English will be wanting to take advantage of improving financial conditions and get a budget under his Government’s belt.

Time will tell how well the National caucus works with their new leader.

Key’s last Question Time as PM

Key attended his last Question Time as Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday – he doesn’t do Thursday’s in Parliament.

Labour had wisely chosen to look ahead and focus on National’s leadership contenders, but Winston Peters and James Shaw addressed questions to Key.

Both Peters and Shaw set themselves up for free shots from a relaxed looking Key, who obliged.

Peters and Ron Mark started flashing scorecards during questions but this was stamped on by the Speaker.

But Key set himself up by interjecting into Andrew Little’s first question.

ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition): My question is to the Minister of Finance. Does he stand by his statement—

Rt Hon John Key: Oh, God, I’m irrelevant already.

ANDREW LITTLE: John, it is all over. It is all over, brother.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Again, as I said yesterday, I can sense the excitement in the air, but we will still conduct question time under the normal rules.

ANDREW LITTLE: It is not the excitement; it is the relief on the face of the Prime Minister.

3. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in all his Ministers; if so, why?

It turned out to be a swipe at Bill English, Jonathan Coleman, Judith Collins and Paula Bennett, and gave Key the opportunity to praise them. The exchange concluded with:

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can he possibly have confidence in all of his Ministers when all we are hearing from his answers and from the spills coming out of caucus is terrible instability, feuding, backstabbing, fighting, all sorts of secret calls—so much so that it has fallen to New Zealand First to look like the epitome of stability?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, when you have a caucus of one, it is reasonably easy to be stable. But the member may have noticed that on Monday—the last time you held up a sign it said “No” and it should have said “Yes”.

Shaw also tried some lame jibes at Ministers who are contenders for promotions.

7. JAMES SHAW to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in all his Ministers?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

James Shaw: Does he have confidence in Jonathan Coleman, and does he even know what he looks like?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes. I am pretty sure he is the one that is just over there. But, you know, given he has been in quite a number of my Cabinets, and I am awake for most of them—absolutely.

James Shaw: Does he have confidence that if Judith Collins becomes Prime Minister, New Zealand will not wake up one day and find itself tied with Zimbabwe on the Transparency International corruption index?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have absolute confidence in Judith Collins, and I have absolute confidence in all of my caucus and my Cabinet colleagues.

James Shaw: Does he have confidence that if Steven Joyce becomes the finance Minister he will not lose the entire surplus on one of those roulette wheels he gave to Skycity Casino?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Here is a prediction: when the Skycity Auckland Convention Centre opens in, I think it is, 2019, from memory, it will be a sparkling asset used by many convention-dwellers, both internationally and locally. It will not cost a cent of taxpayer or ratepayer money, and, if it is true to form, the Labour Party members, who will still be in Opposition, will be coming over to the opening, just like they did when they objected to the hobbits and so many other things in the past.

James Shaw: Is the real reason that New Zealand’s productivity is so low because every working-age New Zealander has been bored to death listening to Bill English?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: If that is his test, then I should introduce him to his own caucus colleagues. Man, they are not exactly people I want to party with when I leave Parliament—let me give you a clue. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I dealt with the showing of those visual aids by New Zealand First earlier. If it continues again from any of those members, they will be leaving the Chamber. I do not want to have to issue that warning again.

James Shaw: Now that he knows who his likely successors are, is he tempted to turn round and say: “Actually, Bill, I’ve changed my mind.”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Definitely not. As I said on Monday, it has been a great privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand for the last 8 years and to lead such a fantastic Cabinet and caucus. I am immensely proud of what this Government has achieved, but, as I said on Monday, I have called time on my own political career, and I will not be turning back on that decision.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: In his long and successful tenure as Prime Minister over the last 8 years in this House, does he recall a day when the Greens have put more effort into their questions?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, but it is good to see that they are getting the hang of it, because they are going to be asking questions for a very long time.

Monumental and colossal media

Containing the euphoria… my cartoon in today’s


This is something the media dreads. They rely on controversy and sensation. A boring Bill English led government would not be good for clicks, nor for journalist self-aggrandising.

Ironically Patrick Gower wrote on Monday: John Key resignation: Patrick Gower says ‘this changes everything’

John Key’s resignation is a colossal and monumental moment in New Zealand politics.

The enormity can be judged by its impact: it changes everything.

I guess a Boring Bill led government would mean that Gower would have to change how he exaggerates things so much.

Right now, a political reset button has been hit. The force that has driven New Zealand politics for ten years is gone.

Key is not even gone yet. He’s going. Next week he steps down from being Prime Minister. Next year he will resign from Parliament.

But the other 58 National MPs remain, until next year’s election at least.

Especially if English takes over the Government is likely to continue steady-as-she-goes, which has been a characteristic English’s influence as much as Key’s for the last eight years.

It is a monumental and colossal way for John Key to exit. It was a monumental and colossal political career.

Key’s political career was successful, but it was most noted for that lack of monumental and colossal change.

The only monumental and colossal change in politics in New Zealand over the last decade was when Gower took over as 3 News political editor from Duncan Garner in 2012.

This was emphasised in a video clip in 2014 where Gower asserted his colossal and monumental importance:

Back to Gower on Monday:

And now, there will be monumental and colossal change in New Zealand politics.

Perhaps post-Key, especially if Boring Bill takes over, journalists will have to dig out and report on actual news of importance rather making sensation and themselves the focus of their stories in places like libraries and parliaments.

Now that would be a monumental and colossal change.

If Paddy really wanted to be a media person who the masses noticed he should switch to advertising fast food, cars and Christmas/Boxing Day/New years Day/Next day sales.

Standard negativity post-Key

John Key’s resignation is Labour’s best opportunity in eight years to turn things around and look like a better governing option.

But going by reactions at The Standard left wing negativity is entrenched.

It’s understandable that there will be some jubilation about Key’s exit from Government, but most of the reaction at The Standard has been an attack on Key and his legacy and his party.

They’re dancing on Key’s grave before he has checked into the political hospice.

Before Key’s announcement it Labour and Green and Mana had been on virtual life support at The Standard, with only an occasional beep from the heart monitor – there was some joy after the Mt Roskill by-election win on Saturday.

But come Monday, before Key’s announcement, he was the only post focus:

Since then the Standard posts have been:

Even their two Daily Review posts featured Key images.

Absolutely nothing on Labour, Greens and the door opened to their opportunities next year.

Ironically ex-Standard author Te Reo Putake, a Labour supporter and Andrew Littler promoter and fan, asked to post a positive Labour/Little/Opposition here – Key to the Kingdom. He has been banned from The Standard following a civil war.

Key’s resignation is the best gift to Little and Labour (and the Greens) for a decade.

But the Greens and especially Metiria Turei have put most of their efforts into criticising and attacking Key, when he is no longer a political threat. Winston and other NZ First MPs have attacked Key. This sort of negativity is reflected at The Standard.

National are vulnerable. The public will have an extra  look to see who they think can run Government competently.

And I see mostly see Opposition mud flying, still.It seems like a particularly stupid first impression post-Key to present to the public.

If opposition parties, and supporting online forums like The Standard, want to take advantage of National’s current vulnerability surely they can at least try to look better, rather than worse.

Is the left capable of being positive?

Question Time could be interesting today

Question Time could be fascinating today.

It will be interesting to see how John Key handles it, presuming he will turn up.

How the contenders for leadership handle it, if given a chance to speak.

How the Opposition leaders handle it.

Today’s questions:

Questions to Ministers

  1. DAVID BENNETT to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received confirming New Zealand’s sovereign credit rating?
  2. METIRIA TUREI to the Prime Minister: Ka tū ia i runga i te mana o tana kōrero “I honestly wish I could have changed the flag”, i te wā i pātaitia ai, he aha tana tino pōuri nui?

    Translation: Does he stand by his statement that “I honestly wish I could have changed the flag”, when asked for his greatest regret?

  3. ANDREW LITTLE to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement that “the prices you pay for a house are ridiculous”, given New Zealand house prices have risen by over 50 percent since he made that statement?
  4. SARAH DOWIE to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment: How is the Government ensuring New Zealanders gain the skills needed in a growing economy?
  5. Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister of Health: Does he expect an estimated 533,000 New Zealanders who did not visit a GP due to cost in the last year to continue to wait for primary care reform which might “form part of a future Budget”, possibly under a different health Minister as stated by him?
  6. MATT DOOCEY to the Minister of Transport: What progress has the Government made on repairing damage to transport infrastructure following the Kaikōura earthquake?
  7. PHIL TWYFORD to the Minister for Social Housing: Does she stand by her statement, “look I can’t guarantee that”, when asked if anyone living in a car can go to a Government agency today and get a roof over their head tonight?
  8. RON MARK to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by all his statements?
  9. DAVID CLENDON to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement to this House that “having surpluses does not mean that the Government can go spending more money on ineffective public services or infrastructure that may not be needed”?
  10. CHRIS BISHOP to the Minister of Education: How is the Government helping students use the internet for learning?
  11. STUART NASH to the Minister of Police: Does she think there is any correlation between the closure of over 20 Community Policing Centres and the 13,000 increase in victimisations in the last 12 months; if not, why not?
  12. MELISSA LEE to the Minister for Women: How is the Government encouraging more young girls and women to pursue career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and maths?


Key’s legacy

Journalists and pundits have rushed into writing about John Key’s political legacy.

Public response has ranged from cheers and jeers to tears. For some people politics is very personal, and there are extreme views and feelings.

Media coverage of key’s legacy has been mostly favourable. Key was a very successful Prime Minister and communicator in some ways.

Of course Key, like any Prime Minister, has made mistakes and has done things he won’t be proud of, but on balance I think most people will see his tenure as being pretty good through some tough times – like the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes.

Some people will never have seen any good in Key because he is not on their political side of a deep divide. Bitter bollocking has continued after the news of Key’s retirement.

Key has said that one of his main ambitions was to leave politics with New Zealand a better place than when he started as Prime Minister.

He took over as New Zealand transitioned from local recession to global financial crisis, and he, Bill English and their Government got the country though that better than most countries, with the added burden of the massive Canterbury earthquakes.

Our economy is emerging from years of deficits and the prospects are now looking much better. Housing is a major problem but that is not unique to New Zealand. In retrospect Key’s Government should have addressed land supply and the RMA sooner and more drastically, but they didn’t know the property bubble would blow up so much and for so long.

Key and all of us with mortgages and loans have benefited from a transition from high interest rates (mortgage rates were over 10% in 2008) to record lows of less than half of that. Some international influences are good, some are bad.

Key hasn’t dramatically transformed New Zealand, he hasn’t introduced one signature policy that will be remembered fondly for decades.

This is more positive than negative. Some people want revolution, they want to transform the country into their idea of some sort of capitalist or socialist nirvana.

But most people prefer stability, they don’t want their country lurching from one government to another, from one failed reform to another on the off chance one reform will make things better.

Governing a country is far more complex than many people seem to understand. Many tweaks are generally safer and better than a few major transformations. Big change is as likely to introduce new big problems as it is to solve the existing problems.

I think quite a bit more time and reflection is necessary to properly judge Key’s tenure as Prime Minister.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and some of the people will never be satisfied no matter who is in charge.

But I think in general New Zealand under the John Key led government of then last eight years has done pretty well, and our prospects overall are pretty good, albeit with some ongoing difficult issues like housing, drugs, violence and the struggling poor still needing more attention.

Like anyone Key had his flaws but I think he did a lot and he did his best and most of us are probably better off due to his efforts.

Key’s secret

Key successfully kept his plans to resign secret,  by telling very few people.

According to reports:

  • Key had discussed the possibility of retiring with his wife Bronagh since last Christmas.
  • He told Bronagh about his decision in September.
  • He told Bill English just after that.
  • He told his children two weeks ago.
  • Close staff were told on Sunday.
  • Ministers were called individually, presumably on Monday morning.
  • National backbenchers were told by conference call 30 minutes before Key went public.

Limiting his secret like this enabled him to spring a surprise on the nation.

Inevitable leaks did occur, but just prior to Key’s announcement. Some people in politics can’t be trusted to keep their traps shut, and can’t be trusted to do the decent thing and let Key make his own announcement.

I’ve seen a couple of journalists say they were tipped off a few minutes before Key’s media meeting at 12:45 yesterday. But in general Key’s announcement caught media completely by surprise – they had no idea what the special press conference was about in advance.

Two people who I won’t name but who were closely associated with ‘Dirty Politics’ tried to grandstand, one via Twitter just before Key’s announcement – this was quickly removed – and one in a blog post. Their own egos are more important to them than  doing the decent thing and allowing Key to make his own announcement.

Until yesterday Key and those he trusted did very well to keep his secret.

Key to the Kingdom

Banned Standard author Te Reo Putake writes for Your NZ about how John Key’s shock resignation will revitalise Labour, the Greens and NZ First.

It’s been a great few days for the opposition. The Mt Roskill by election was a stunning win for Labour, the Greens have picked up a media friendly new candidate in Hayley Holt and Winston Peters has, well, I don’t know what Winston’s been up to, but I’m sure he thinks it was great.

And now John Key’s resigned to spend more time with his money. Good news for Barack Obama, golf’s no fun without a caddy.

John Key’s resignation opens the door for two, perhaps three new Prime Ministers in the next twelve months.

First, Bill English will take over, on Key’s recommendation. If the polls plummet, he’ll be shafted by Easter, to be replaced by whatever counts as budding talent in the National caucus.

Bennett? Bridges?

It won’t matter, really, because whenever the election is called, early or late, Andrew Little will win.

Hold on, I hear you saying, what about the polls?

The numbers have been heading Little’s way for months. No, really. His task is to maximise Labour’s vote, but more importantly, build the numbers for both his party and the Greens. Most recent polls have had those two party’s combined vote just short or just above the point at which a coalition with NZ First could form a viable Government.

That’s how MMP works folks. If only Roy Morgan could work that out.

National can’t afford to lose even a couple of percentage points next election. If they drop even slightly, Winston is their only hope of staying in power.

It’s important to remember that National have scraped through three elections on the strength of their leader and the supine support of their mini me’s in Epsom and Ohariu.

ACT will be back, but Dunne’s done.

The maori party will not be back next election either. They’ll be swamped by Labour this time round. And a good job too. Bye bye, brown tories.

Without Key, National will almost certainly have to do a deal with NZ First to retain power.

Now, I don’t kid myself that Winston Peters can be relied on to do the right thing and back a Labour led Government.

Indeed, the resignation of Key takes away one of my favourite arguments, which was that Peters wanted to be the one who brought Key down. He hasn’t forgiven the Nats for forcing him out of Parliament in 2008 and I always fancied that if NZ First had the balance of power post election, he’d make Key dance a jig to his tune for a few weeks, then go with Labour anyway.


I’m still convinced that Peters sees more scope to get his ideas over the line as part of a Little led Government. Have you ever looked at NZ Firsts policies? The vast majority could have been remits at a Labour party conference. Ok, rejected remits, but, hey, you get the idea.

The fly in the ointment for that arrangement is the Greens. Winston doesn’t trust them. He once told me that they’d sell NZ out for a snail. I laughed at the time, but if he does opt for the Nats post election, that’ll be the reason.

And what of the Greens? What do they get out of Key’s quitting?

Well, probably not much. This doesn’t have the same potential impact on their vote as it does for Labour.

However, there may be some Blue Greens who will shift their party vote their way. It’s noticeable in the inner city electorates that there is strong tactical voting by conservatives who have an environmental conscience. Maybe that’ll get them an extra MP or two.

And, of course, they’ll be part of the next Government, in some form or other.

Ultimately, it will be Labour that is the big winner here.

Kiwis have traditionally let governments run for two or three terms, then let the other fullas have a go. That’ll be the outcome next year.

Andrew Little may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is a genuine guy, hard working and honest. He’s distressingly straight laced and painfully awkward in front of the cameras.

You know why?

He’s no show pony. He just wants to do the work.

I think voters will grudgingly accept he’s the right person to take the country forward for a term or two.

And with Key’s bitter legacy of growing inequality, poverty, underfunding of health, education and cops, and the apparent end of the Kiwi dream of owning our own home Little will have plenty of good issues to campaign on and plenty of problems to fix when he’s in the hot seat.

Barring some other seismic political shock, Andrew Little will find himself Prime Minister this time next year.

And I reckon you’ll be surprised at how good a job he does of it.

John Key’s resignation speech

Notes from John Key’s office of his resignation speech:

Just a few days ago I marked the anniversary of my eighth year as Prime Minister and my tenth as leader of the National Party.

Such an occasion seems a fitting time to not only take stock of the past 10 years, but to look forward.

Being leader of both the party and the country has been an incredible experience.

Along with my Cabinet and caucus colleagues, we steered the country through the global financial crisis which was arguably the worst recession since the Great Depression.

We have stood with Christchurch in the wake of the earthquakes – the greatest natural disaster to hit our country since 1931, and we have mourned the victims of the Pike River Mine disaster; one of the saddest days our small nation has endured in recent times.

During my time as Prime Minister the Government has positioned New Zealand so that our economy could harness the opportunities offered by a burgeoning Asia and a more connected world.

Reforms have been far reaching, including substantial changes to our tax, welfare, planning and labour laws, not to mention the successful partial sell-down of state companies, the considerable overhaul of our Justice, Security and Corrections agencies and, of course, trade liberalisation.

Ten years since I first became leader of the National Party, I believe we can look back on advanced race relations and real momentum in the Treaty settlement programme.

We also have a more confident, outward-looking and multi-cultural New Zealand that competes and succeeds on the world stage.

Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love.  All of this has come at quite some sacrifice for the people who are dearest to me – my family.

For my wife Bronagh, there have been many nights and weekends spent alone, many occasions that were important to her that I simply could not attend.

My daughter Stephie and my son Max have transitioned from teenagers to young adults while coping with an extraordinary level of intrusion and pressure because of their father’s job.

I thank them for their tolerance.  Bronagh and I are immensely proud of them.

My family has also had remarkable opportunities and experiences as we have met people and visited places from one end of our country to the other.

We have celebrated alongside fellow Kiwis in their happiest times, and wept with them in their saddest.

Simply put, it has, for me, been the most remarkable, satisfying and exciting time of my life.

But despite the amazing career I have had in politics, I have never seen myself as a career politician.  I have certainly never wanted my success in politics to be measured by how long I spent in Parliament.

The National Party is in great shape.  Bill English has told me that in all his years here, ours is the most cohesive Cabinet he has seen.  And I personally am humbled and gratified that after eight years as Prime Minister, my personal support from the public remains high.

I absolutely believe we can win the next election.

But I do not believe that, if you asked me if I was committed to serving out a fourth term, that I could look the public in the eye and say yes.

And more than anything else in my time here, I have tried to be straight and true with New Zealanders.

I also believe that leadership change, for the right reasons and handled well, is good for a political party.

For all these reasons, I today told my Cabinet and caucus colleagues of my decision to step down as Leader of the National Party and as Prime Minister.

It is my expectation that on Monday 12 December National MPs will hold a special caucus meeting to select a new leader and later that day I will tender my resignation to the Governor-General.

This has been the hardest decision I have ever made and I do not know what I will do next.

But for me this feels the right time to go.

It gives the Cabinet and caucus plenty of time to settle in with a new leader before heading into the next election with a proud record of strong economic management, a commitment to the most vulnerable in our society and lots of ideas to keep lifting New Zealanders up in the world.

It would be easy to say I have made this decision solely to rediscover the personal and family life I once had, and that is a factor, but it is one among many.

Over the years I have observed many leaders who, in a similar position, fail to take this step.

I can understand why.  It is a hard job to leave.

But, for me and the National Party, this is a good time to go. Party membership is high and the party is well-funded. The caucus is talented and eager to serve, and one of the achievements of which I am proud is having built with my colleagues a Cabinet team that is capable, committed and cohesive.

That is a great legacy for National’s next leader.

Just as I grasped the challenge of leadership so will a new leader.

Inevitably they will bring their own personality, emphasis and priorities to the role.

This is part of the process that allows a long-serving government to keep delivering.

For my part I am confident the caucus has a number of individuals who would make a fine future PM.

It is inevitable I will be asked who I will vote for at the caucus meeting on December 12.

Whoever the caucus elects will have my unwavering support, but if Bill English puts his name forward then I will vote for him.

For 10 years now Bill and I have worked as a team. I have witnessed first-hand his leadership style, his capacity for work, his grasp of the economy, his commitment to change and, most of all, his decency as a husband, as a father, as a friend, a colleague and as a politician.

Bill has, I believe, grown a great deal since he was last Party leader.

Fifteen years on he has more experience and the party and political cycles are quite different.

I believe that National, under Bill’s leadership, would win the election in 2017.

This is not the time to thank all of those who have made the past 10 years possible for me.

But nor can I stand here without acknowledging Bronagh, Stephie and Max who have sacrificed a lot for me to have been able to do what the job demands.

No person in this role can succeed without the support of an enormous number of talented and dedicated individuals.

I thank my deputy Bill English, the Cabinet and caucus for their loyalty and energy and, of course, my wonderful staff, so well led by Wayne Eagleson, who have done more than I ever could have hoped or expected.

I also wish to thank and acknowledge our support partners ACT, United Future and the Maori Party without whom the strong and stable Government we have delivered would not have been possible.

I have no doubt my successor will look to build upon these relationships.

Last but not least, I wish to put on record my everlasting gratitude to the people of Helensville for electing me, and to the New Zealand public for their support, faith and encouragement. It has been my privilege to serve you all.

I have always believed that the test of a good Prime Minister is that he or she leaves the country in better shape than they found it. Over time, others will judge whether I have done that.

All I can say is that I gave it everything I had.

I have left nothing in the tank.

Finally, while I intend to stay in Parliament long enough to avoid the cost and inconvenience a by-election would cause the good people of Helensville, I will at an appropriate time prior to the next election step down as an MP.

On that day, I shall walk from these buildings for the last time, a richer person for the experience and privilege of being here, and hoping and believing that New Zealand has been well served by the Government I led.

Thank you.

Who next for Prime Minister?

If things go according to John Key’s suggested time frame then the National Party caucus will choose a new Prime Minister within a week. Breathtaking. This is a very tight timeframe for all MPs other than Bill English to consider their near future ambitions and to decice whether they are willing to hand over their time and their privacy to the country.

A UMR poll done from 27 September to 14 Octoberasked about preferences for a Key replacement:

  • Bill English 21%
  • Steven Joyce 16%
  • Paula Bennett 11%
  • Judith Collins 6%

Others mentioned as possibilities are Amy Adams (she seems to have preferred to work hard out of the public eye) and Simon Bridges (too soon for him). Jonathan Coleman has also been mentioned.

Key has  said he will support English if his current deputy decides to put himself in the reckoning. English appears to be the only one who knew about Key’s intentions well ion advance.

One thing is certain – politics and the country will continue on next year without Key as leader, and those who rise to fill gaps will take over the media and Opposition heat.

Labour will be rubbing their hands together, thinking that Key gone straight after their Mt Roskill by-election success will give them a better chance in next year’s election. It will – but how much remains to be seen. Key’s resignation won’t fix Labour’s problems and it’s hard to see them getting a 10-20% boost.

When an English-Little contest was suggested on Twitter journalists lamented the lack of excitement. This is one problem with our media, the Prime Ministers and Parliament are supposed to be running the country with a minimum of fuss, intervention and disruption.

They are not supposed to be click bait entertainers.

Added – poll number cruncher with a leftish viewpoint, Swordfish (from a Standard comment):

Here’s my March 2016 overview of public opinion on a post-Key successor (Polls over the last 5 years)