We’ve always said that John Key was only in politics for his personal reward. He just wants to have ‘PM of NZ’ on his CV. He just wants to go around smiling and waving at people who know who he is because of the office he holds. Now, he’s admitted as much.
In an interview with the Herald before he went off to Hawaii for his holiday, Key said he would quit politics if not re-elected.
It’s a petulant, arrogant statement, a childish one: ‘I have to play the PM or I’m going home’.
Most people who get into politics, people like Phil Goff and his team, are there because they believe in the power of representative democracy to improve the lives of people.
The ultimate goal of politics is to have the power to make that difference, yes, but you don’t see Goff and others having a hissy fit and quitting if a single election goes against them. To do so would be to put their personal feelings ahead of their principles and duty to those who elected them.
I’m trying to think of a PM or even Opposition Leader who has quit Parliament after losing an election.
Clark resigned the leadership but stayed on as an MP until offered another political role, which is arguably even more powerful than being PM of NZ. Brash remained National leader after losing in 2005 and only quit after Key rolled him. English stayed on. Shipley stayed on, resigning in 2002. Bolger threw in the towel because he felt betrayed by his party, and that was after 26 years in Parliament. Moore stayed on for nine years after being PM. Palmer quit before he could lose, but only after 11 years as an MP. Lange stayed until 1996. Muldoon until 1991. Rowling retired only after FPP stole the ’78 and ’81 elections from him and he was replaced as leader by Lange in 1983. And so on.
These people didn’t quit when they lost an election because they had ideals they believed in and it was furthering ideals that had bought them to Parliament and leadership. They didn’t want the job for its own sake but for what they could do with it for what they believed in.
Key just wants to be PM for its own sake. He just wants the attention and public admiration that he gets by virtue of being PM.
This ultimately explains why he is the do nothing PM: why he has smiled and waved while the country has fallen back into the second dip of recession, while he has done nothing to lift the standard of living of New Zealanders, why he has let his ministers get away with corruption and passing legislation that undermines our democracy and human rights.
Because he doesn’t give a crap about any of that. Being PM isn’t an opportunity to make positive change for Key, it’s an opportunity to get his picture taken and feel good about himself.
Oh and don’t think he’s talking about what he’ll do if he loses for no reason. He knows this election will go down to the wire. This announcement is clearly an attempt to shore up support but I don’t think threatening to spit the dummy if it doesn’t go his way won’t help his cause.