Student army leader makes international headlines

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 18:31 09/06/2012
Johnson
IAIN McGREGOR/The Press
LEADER: Student Army founder Sam Johnson.

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Christchurch's Sam Johnson has hit international headlines in a gay blog praising the young leader's achievements.

The Huffington Post, a United States internet newspaper, features an article on Johnson headed, ''Why Kiwis Love This Gay University Student''.

Huffpost blogger, James Peron, refers to the results of a poll conducted by The Press newspaper last month, which show the 23-year-old's leadership performance is regarded head and shoulders above others - including Prime Minister John Key and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority boss Roger Sutton - with a staggering 98 per cent of the 359 surveyed considering he had done a good job.

''All of these celebrities were bested by a gay, 23-year-old student from Canterbury University named Sam Johnson. The Press survey showed Sam's approval rating to be an unheard of 98%,'' Peron says.

Johnson, a board member of the The UpRising Trust, a local gay community organisation, is quoted in the article saying, ''A lot of people meet me and don't realise I'm gay.''

But being gay has been little obstacle to Johnson, Person says as he recounts a long list of Johnson's achievements including his community board election in 2010, his role in the earthquake recovery, setting up the Student Volunteer Army, and being named 2012 Young New Zealander of the Year after being given the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award.

''After reading about Sam's accomplishments, and his 98% approval rating, you have to wonder: 'Who were the 2%, and what's wrong with them?' When the first openly gay prime minister of New Zealand is elected, there are decent odds his name will be Sam.''

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