Will Key hang around through third term?

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 10:41 26/06/2014
Key
Reuters
JOHN KEY: Revealed that he nearly quit 18 months ago when he thought National was going to lose the upcoming election.

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OPINION: The odds on John Key completing a third term should National win in September appear to have dropped significantly after the release of his biography today.

In the book, Portrait of a Prime Minister, Key reveals he nearly quit 18 months ago when he thought National was going to lose the upcoming election because "I don't kinda like failure".

The desire to walk away was compounded by a feeling that he was being overwhelmed by "side issues".

Those issues included the Novopay debacle that left thousands of teachers out of pocket, the John Banks donations saga - for which the ACT MP was recently found guilty - and his government's wrong turn over increasing school class sizes.

That these issues caused him to have a serious chat to wife Bronagh about quitting is as clear a signal as you will ever get that Key is unlikely to stick around for another election after this one.

Winning a third time might be hard, but winning a fourth term is extremely rare, making failure an even more likely option.

The confession is no surprise to those who have known Key since the days he was Opposition leader.

He watched his predecessor Helen Clark clinging on to the very end and always made it clear that unlike her he intended leaving on a high.

But as the latest Stuff/Ipsos poll reveals, Key would do so knowing it could cost National any chance of winning.

Only 22 per cent of voters are committed to National who ever the leader is.

Another 35.5 per cent say it would make them think again if he was not leader and support would depend on who replaced him. 

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