Can John Key match Keith Holyoake?

John Key is the most popular PM since polling began, and he now has the chance to build a career as enduring as Keith Holyoake‘s. Kiwi Keith won the elections in 1960, 1963, 1966 and 1969 before standing down on his own terms in early 1972.

Labour’s inept and crippled campaign manager, excessive dead wood and shambolic first term in opposition mean Key is going to win this election easily. Unless Labour radically cut out the dead wood they will continue to struggle through the next term, and without a strong leader it is hard to imagine them rebuilding to achieve parity with Key in 2014.

The problem for Key is the electoral system. He might be able to win a majority in 2011 but in 2014 Labour can’t be expected to be as inept, and some of National’s own inept ministers will cause the National vote to fall. National’s support parties, ACT and the Maori Party, look like being greatly diminished in 2014 and may not make it back into parliament. John Key has hoovered up so much support from other parties that only Labour and the Greens looks like having any strength and even for them it is a race between the two to see who will command the opposition after the election. There is a remote chance that the Greens may get close to out polling Labour.

By 2014 John Key could still be a very popular Prime Minister and still poll well ahead of Labour. His problem, and the thing that will affect his legacy, is that under MMP he will not have coalition partners, so Labour and the Greens could easily take power.


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  • Liam

    In 1945, Churchill was extremely popular, and Labour could not place a glove on him (and didn’t try). Of course, he lost that election. That’s the peril of banking everything on your leader’s popularity.

  • thor42

    I’m a fan of the STV voting system. As I understand it, if that were brought in there would be a smaller number of electorates (multi-seat constituencies), but they’d be larger. Also, as the name suggests, each electorate would have a number of MPs (often around 4-5 or so).
    What I like is the ability to vote for as many or as few of the candidates (in the electorate) as you like. I would vote for the National *and* Act candidates, and no-one else (and I’m sure many other National and Act supporters would do likewise).
    I’m very much hoping that if people vote for the electoral system to be replaced, that STV wins the “runoff” for the replacement. IIRC, it came second last time (to MMP), and I think it may have been a close second too.