A prime minister resigns: A simple lesson

NEW ZEALAND’S Prime Minister John Key is one of the very few modern political leaders to surrender power on his own terms. 

Rather than be removed by a party coup, electoral defeat, scandal or finite terms of office, Mr Key, one of the most popular prime ministers in New Zealand’s history, has reset his country’s agenda in the most positive and constructive way.

The temptation to compare Mr Key’s attitude with Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s is irresistible and informative.

Mr Key is 55, Mr Kenny is 65. Mr Key was first elected in 2008. Mr Kenny has been a member of the Dáil since 1975. Mr Key has said he wishes to spend more time with his family. Mr Kenny says he will continue as Fine Gael leader because of economic uncertainty and Brexit.

Mr Key seems to recognise that graveyards are full of people who once believed themselves indispensable. It may have taken Ireland 111 years to beat the All Blacks but it must be hoped that it won’t take Mr Kenny as long to learn that simple, chastening lesson.


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