John Key boards the post-PM corporate gravy train

Key is embarking on an after-politics career as a professional director – he is also on the board of Air New Zealand and tipped to take over the chairmanship there. Now is the time for him to strike for those key positions, while his name still has impact and his face is fresh in people’s minds.

This isn’t an unusual strategy – former prime minister Jenny Shipley and Jim Bolger also went on to pick up board positions, although Bolger’s were primarily in state-owned organisations.

The attractions to the business are obvious. As Massey University banking expert David Tripe says, he brings credibility and experience, people trust what he says, and there will be people who want to talk to him. Internationally, having a former prime minister as chairman of the board will give a business such as ANZ extra standing.

With a long international career and nine years in prime ministership, and a reputation for good relationship-handling skills, Key will be one of the best qualified candidates in the New Zealand pool of potential directors. He said in 2008: “I believe the future of our country can be really great.” Perhaps this is the next step in his work to help do that.

But for Key’s critics, this could be vindication that the “smiling assassin” businessman was actually always lurking within the Big Gay Out persona all along.

While Key’s predecessor, Clark, seems to have buoyed her reputation with her work at the UN, Key’s foray into the business world could give his everyman persona a knock.

But done right, Key could draw out a long and lucrative career for himself at the helm of the country’s biggest businesses.

With John Key’s huge list of high quality contacts across the world, large businesses will want to have access to him.


– Stuff


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