Gordon Campbell spends some time examining Key’s likeability factor:
“That’s why Key’s gamble over Winston Peters is so interesting because it could help to unravel that image. If Peters can ultimately provide sufficient satisfactory evidence of where the money has gone, Key will have been guilty of a rush to judgement. Alone, that might not matter. But since Key has also ruled out having Roger Douglas in his Cabinet regardless of the number three slot that Douglas holds on the Act party list then it goes beyond a touch of vanity, into something that looks more like arrogance.
An election can throw up democratic outcomes that Key may not prefer – but he has to live with them and work around them. Voters will reach their own conclusions about Peters. They could well boost his party back over the five per cent threshold in sympathy. Arguably, such an endorsement could make New Zealand First a valid contender for government. Similarly, people will have voted for Act partly because Douglas sits at number three on the list, on the expectation that Douglas’ experience would be utilized by National around the Cabinet table. They could well ask is Bill English so much more capable than Douglas as an economic manager that he feels no need of advice ?
Will his high-likeability approach hold up under the pressure of an election campaign? If the polls continue to tighten can he afford the luxury of continuing his current course of ruling potential partners out? Politics is always a game of risk, and we know he was a master in his currency trader days – it will be interesting to see whether that influences his decisions over the next couple of months.