John Key's most enduring legacy is make the right like Madonna
OPINION: I'm on tour this month with the live version of 7Days, which, if you haven't seen it, is a weekly television comedy show about the news. In New Zealand. Which is ambitious. Because some weeks, we don't have any.
Not this week.
John Key's resignation has me genuinely torn. I've never been a big fan, but I will grudgingly admit he has had his moments. He's been good in a crisis or two, and he's been consistent on most of his policies, many of which I disagreed with.
We may never have another Prime Minister who provides as much fodder for as many late night comedy shows around the world, as well as right here, again, but that's all been part of his "popular appeal".
I'm not one of those who thought he'd be a great guy to have a beer with, because I suspect his would be a shandy in a stemmed glass, but each to their own.
What surprised me was the timing. His poll numbers are still riding high, the opposition is still struggling to define themselves and the election is hardly on anyone's radar. Let's be honest, with the year we've had already, how many of us can even imagine that 2017 is still on?
Maybe I shouldn't be shocked. Key said, prior to the last election, that if he didn't win he would quit politics, which to me was a bit like someone who works at McDonald's saying "if I don't get employee of the month, I'm gone." It never inspired a lot of confidence that he was playing a long game.
So I have to wonder what else is going on. What did he hear in his phone call with Donald Trump that scared him so much that he's running for the hills? How many knives are out in the National caucus? What has Max done now?
The truth is, I really hope that this is all as simple and understandable as it seems. Being Prime Minister must be brutal. The effect on your family, your health and your sanity of bearing that much responsibility and scrutiny cannot be fun. I struggle to run my own house, who on earth would take on an entire country?
So now there's the question of who takes his place. His press conference was a little bit Back to the Future - We need new blood, so may I present...Bill English? Been there, done that, voted against the T-shirt.
Collins? Joyce? Bennett? The fact that they all have single-name recognition, like Springsteen or Madonna, says a lot about how front and centre Key managed to make the right.
That may be his most enduring legacy.