Date registered: Sep 2005
Vehicle: 1988 420 SE; 2008 ML 500
Location: Gold Coast, QLD, AUS & Doha, Qatar
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 124 Post(s)
Change down under as well...
New Zealand's new PM fulfils boyhood ambition
November 9, 2008 - 2:25AM
New Zealand voters responded to Mr Key's call for change
Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand's National Party leader John Key had two boyhood ambitions. He achieved his goal of making a million dollars a long time ago and his election victory Saturday as prime minister-elect has brought him the second.
New Zealand voters responded to Mr Key's call for change and the "politics of aspiration", handing a strong mandate to his centre-right National Party to form a government with the support of two small conservative parties.
With an estimated fortune of $50 million ($A43.84 million) from a career as an investment banker, the son of a poor, widowed Jewish refugee mother brought up in government housing has come a long way.
His two childhood goals, revealed in a New Zealand Herald profile, illustrate his habit of setting goals and chasing them remorselessly.
In egalitarian New Zealand, riches are sometimes viewed with suspicion but Mr Key makes no apologies.
"I've been in a fortunate position in my life in that I've had a successful business career and yes, I have made money," he said.
"I also know the other side of being poor. I was brought up in a state house by a solo mother so I've had both extremes.
"I want more New Zealanders to move from poverty to wealth."
Path to PM's office
Mr Key gave up his job as global head of foreign exchange for Merrill Lynch in London in 2001 to chase his dream of running New Zealand.
He was elected a member of parliament for the National Party the following year.
By 2004 he was appointed finance spokesman for National, the main opposition party, under leader Don Brash, a former central bank chief.
Prime minister Helen Clark's Labour Party won a tight election in 2005 and the following year, Mr Brash was replaced by Mr Key.
He has been painted by Miss Clark as far too inexperienced but he counters that his experience in business and finance will be an asset for the country.
His strategy of avoiding alienating voters by promising no radical change under a National government has led to accusations he is only offering a "Labour-lite" administration.
But he says there is a gulf between his philosophy and that of rival Miss Clark.
National stands for "the politics of aspiration, not the politics of envy", he says.
His affable, relaxed style disguises a steely resolve and an ability to learn quickly. Mr Key rarely put a foot wrong in the election campaign, despite his relatively short period in politics.
In plotting his way to the top of the National Party in just four years, he revealed a ruthless streak, one he says earlier saw him described as the "smiling assassin" when he had to sack Merrill Lynch employees during a business downturn in the late 1990s.
Mr Key is married to his high school sweetheart Bronagh and they live in an Auckland mansion with their two children.
He occasionally plays golf, a sport his sister reportedly said the young Mr Key announced as a 10-year-old he wanted to learn because it was an important social tool for businessmen.
But as incoming prime minister of a country facing the fallout of the global financial crisis, the golf clubs are likely to be staying in the bag for a long time.
beware of fundamentalists