New Zealand: John Key resignation 'changes political game'
Dec.12, NY: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's unexpected announcement that he will resign on 12 December has changed the political game, writes New Zealand political columnist Colin James.
Mr Key's announcement caught even his cabinet by surprise. And it appears to have been unforced.
He told journalists he was not a "career politician" and could not commit to serving out the whole of another parliamentary term as prime minister, and so should leave now to give time for a new leader to settle in.
Few leaders know when it is time to go, he said, and he was determined not to be one of them.
Mr Key's National party has been in power since 2008 on election scores of 45%, 47% and 47%, and averaged 48% in opinion polls in November.
Its prospects for a fourth three-year term in the election next year, due by early November, looked good.
Part of that support is Mr Key's personal appeal across a wide spectrum of voters. His personal poll ratings, although down a bit, are still very high.
One reason why New Zealand does not share North Atlantic countries' populist surges is his easygoing optimism and empathy.
The Oslo Times International News Network