Chances are you've already seen excerpts of the video of John Key at the University of Canterbury yesterday; here's the whole package.
So we ask this question; politics aside, has there ever been a Prime Minister in New Zealand as approachable, as natural and as appealing to the everyday New Zealander as John Key? We think back on those who have held the office of Prime Minister in our lifetime; Nash, Holyoake, Marshall, Kirk, Rowling, Muldoon, Lange, Palmer, Moore, Bolger, Shipley and Clark. All bar Lange were career politicians. Lange and Key both assumed the role early in their respective careers, but there the similarity ends.
John Key is riding a crest of popularity right at the moment. We reckon that part of that is because he doesn't try to be anyone other than who he naturally is, and people respond to that. He doesn't have to resort to smears and innuendo . He's not a natural orator, but as we saw for ourselves a few weeks ago he can speak with authority without notes, and seems to have a great recall for facts and figures. And as he showed yesterday, he goes with the flow to impressive effect. This comment at David "Happy Feet" Farrar's place last night sums it up:
What we saw yesterday shows what a mountain Labour has to climb over the next two months. Quite frankly, they have no-one with the charisma to challenge Key like-to-like, and that puts them at a huge disadvantage. Little wonder that Labour's campaign team is in such disarray.
To see a National Party Prime Minister receive a reception such as this from a group of university students is without parrallel in our lifetime. If John Key's personal popularity translates into electoral support, National may yet be able to do the MMP unthinkable after November.