Monday, December 05, 2016


In the run-up to the Mt Roskill by-election, John Key said it was a referendum on Andrew Little's leadership, and that if Labour lost, Little would be "terminal". It looks like he was right about the referendum, but wrong about the party - just two days later, he has resigned.

Officially its for family reasons and because his heart wasn't in it for a full fourth term. Which is a great reason to resign. Too many politicians stay long past their use-by date, desperately clinging to power (or simply office) because they can't imagine what else to do with their lives (see Labour's front-bench for a perfect example of this). Recognising that its time to go, that there's more to life than yelling at one another in Parliament every day, is a good thing, and our politics would be healthier if more MPs did it.

At the same time, it massively changes the landscape for next year's election. Key's replacement will not be as popular as him, and some of the choices on offer - e.g. Judith Collins - are simply toxic. But Labour will have to work hard if they want to win. Mt Roskill shows they can do that if they want to, but too many of their senior MPs don't, and just want to wait their turn for a Ministerial salary. Hopefully the threat of the Greens eating them from the left will motivate them enough.