John Key

John Key

Infobox Officeholder
name = John Phillip Key
honorific-suffix =

birth_date = Birth date and age|1961|8|9|df=yes
birth_place = Auckland, New Zealand
residence = Parnell, Auckland
death_date =
death_place =
order = 31st Leader of the Opposition
salary =
term_start = 27 November 2006
term_end =
deputy = Bill English
predecessor = Don Brash
successor =
party = National
religion = None statedcite web |url= |title=Will the real John Key step forward |author=Ruth Berry |date=25 November 2006 |accessdate=2007-08-23 |publisher=New Zealand Herald]
constituency_MP2 = Helensville
parliament2 = New Zealand
predessor2 = "Seat created"
term_start2 = 27 July 2002
majority2 = 12,778cite web |url= |title=Official Count Results – Helensville |publisher=New Zealand Electoral Commission |date=1 November 2005 |accessdate=2007-08-23]
profession = Currency trader
spouse = Bronagh Key
children = two
website = []
footnotes =

John Phillip Key (born 9 August 1961) is a New Zealand politician, and member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, representing the north-west Auckland constituency of Helensville. He is the current Parliamentary leader of the National Party and, by virtue of this position, the current Leader of the Opposition.

Before politics

Key was born in Auckland, New Zealand, to George Key and Ruth Key (née Lazar). His father died of a heart attack in 1967. Key and his two sisters were raised in a single-parent home in a state house in Christchurch by his Austrian-Jewish immigrant mother.cite news |archiveurl= |archivedate=2008-03-19 |url= |title=POLITICS: John Key - A snapshot |work=Sunday Star Times |date=2008-02-03 |accessdate=2008-02-28] cite news |url= |title=Golden Boy |work=Metro Magazine |author=Bevan Rapson |date=2005-04-26 |accessdate=2008-02-28]

He attended Burnside High School, and earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting from the University of Canterbury in 1981. He has attended management studies courses at Harvard University, although he did not receive a degree from this institution.cite news |url= |title=Profile: John Key |author=Maggie Tait |work=New Zealand Herald |date=2006-11-27 |accessdate=2008-02-28] [cite web |url= |title=New Zealand Parliament - Key, John |accessdate=2008-02-28]

His first job was in 1982 as an auditor at McCulloch Menzies, and he then moved to be a project manager at Christchurch-based clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin for two years. [cite news |url= |title=My Job: John Key, Leader of the National Party |work=New Zealand Herald |date=12 January 2008 |author=Donna McIntyre] Key began working as a foreign exchange dealer at Elders Finance in Wellington, and rose to the position of head foreign exchange trader two years later, then moved to Auckland-based Bankers Trust in 1988.

In 1995, he joined Merrill Lynch as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. That same year he was promoted to Merrill's global head of foreign exchange, based in London, where he may have earned around US$2.25 million a year including bonuses, which is about NZ$5 million at 2001 exchange rates. Some co-workers called him "the smiling assassin" for maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the Russian financial crisis in 1998.cite news |title=Who is John Key? |url= |work=Sunday Star Times |author=Gillian Tett and Ruth Laugesen |date=2008-02-03 |accessdate=2008-02-28 |archiveurl= |archivedate=2008-03-19] He was a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2001. [cite web |url= |title=New Zealand Parliament - Key, John |accessdate=2008-02-28]

In 2001, on learning of his interest in pursuing a political career, the National Party president John Slater worked actively to recruit him. Former party leader Jenny Shipley describes him as one of the people she "deliberately sought out and put my head on the linendash either privately or publiclyndash to get them in there".

Key met his wife Bronagh when they were both students at Burnside High School. They married in 1984. She also has a BCom degree, and worked as a personnel consultant before becoming a full-time mother. They have two children, Stephie and Max.

Political career


Auckland's population growth, as evidenced in the 2001 census, led to the creation of a new electorate called Helensville, which covered the north-western corner of the Auckland urban area. Key beat long-serving MP Brian Neeson (whose own Waitakere seat had been rendered a safe Labour seat by the boundary changes) for the preselection. At the 2002 elections Key won the seat with a majority of 1,705, ahead of Labour's Gary Russell, with Neeson, now standing as an independent, coming third.cite web |url= |title=Official Count Results – Helensville |publisher=New Zealand Electoral Commission |date=10 August 2002 |accessdate=2007-08-23] Key was re-elected with ease at the 2005 election garnering 63% of votes cast in Helensville.

pokesman for finance

In 2004, Key was promoted to the Opposition front benches by then leader Dr Don Brash, and made the party spokesman for finance. In late 2006 Brash resigned as leader, citing damaging speculation over his future as the reason. His resignation followed controversies over an extramarital affair, and over leaked internal National Party documents which were later published in the book "The Hollow Men". [cite news |author=NZPA, NZHerald Staff |title=Don Brash gone at lunchtime |url= |publisher=New Zealand Herald |date=23 November 2006 |accessdate=2007-08-26]

Leader of the Opposition

In his maiden speech as leader on November 28, 2006, Key talked of an "underclass" that had been "allowed to develop" in New Zealand, a theme which received a large amount of media coverage.cite web |url= |title=Speech to North Shore National Party luncheon |date=28 November 2006 |publisher=New Zealand National Party |accessdate=2007-08-23 |author=John Key] Key followed this speech up in February 2007 by committing his party to a programme which would provide food in the poorest schools in New Zealand.cite web |url= |title=National launches its Food in Schools programme |date=4 February 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23 |author=John Key |publisher=Scoop]

He relented on his stance in opposition to Sue Bradford's Child Discipline Bill, which sought to remove "reasonable force" as a defence for parents charged with prima facie assault of their children. Many parents saw this bill as an attempt to ban smacking outright.cite web |url= |title=78pc of parents say they'll still smack |accessdate=2007-08-23 |date=June 18 2007] Key and Prime Minister Helen Clark agreed a compromise giving police the discretion to overlook smacking they regard as "inconsequential". [cite news |last=Colwill |first=Jennifer |coauthors= |title=The smacking bill - what it says |work= |pages= |publisher=New Zealand Herald |date=2007-05-02 |url= |accessdate=2007-05-27 ]

In August 2007, Key came in for criticism when he changed his position regarding the Therapeutic Products and Medicine Bill::"John Key had finally slipped up. National's leader had told the Herald on Tuesday he would have signed up to a New Zealand First-initiated compromise on the stalled Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill had he seen it - and was still willing to sign up - only to change his mind yesterday after his remarks appeared in print." [cite web |url= |title=John Armstrong: At last, Labour gets to give Key a good kicking |publisher=New Zealand Herald |author=John Armstrong |date=2 August 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23]

Also in August 2007, Labour's Trevor Mallard hinted in Parliament that Labour were going to try to link Key to the 1987 "H-Fee" scandal, which involved Key's former employer Elders Merchant Finance and a payment to Equiticorp Chief Executive Allan Hawkins. Hawkins and Elders executive Ken Jarrett were later jailed for fraud. Key forestalled the accusation by declaring that he had left Elders months before the event, that he had no knowledge of the deal, and that his interview with the Serious Fraud Office during the investigation into the affair could only have helped to convict the people involved. This statement was supported publicly by then-SFO director Charles Sturt. [cite news |last=Trevett |first=Clare |title=Former SFO chief backs Key's claims |work=New Zealand Herald |date=2007-08-25 |url= |accessdate=2008-02-26] [cite news |last=Long |first=Richard |coauthors= |title=Muck-rakers desperate for dirt |work= |pages= |publisher=Fairfax |date=2007-08-28 |archiveurl= |archivedate=2008-03-19 |url= |accessdate=2007-05-27]

Labour MPs have criticised Key for not releasing specific policy information at their annual conference. Key responded that National will set its own policy agenda and that there is adequate time before the next election for voters to digest National Party policy proposals.cite web |url= |title=John Key's policy: There'll be more, later |date=3 August 2007 |author=Paula Oliver |publisher=New Zealand Herald |accessdate=2007-08-23]

On 25 July 2008, Key was added to the New Zealand National Business Review (NBR) Rich Listcite web |url= |title=Rich List 2008: A bad economy, but the rich still get richer |author=NBR Staff |publisher=National Business Review |date=25 July 2008 |accessdate=2008-07-25] for the first time. The list details the wealthiest New Zealand individuals and family groups. Key had an estimated wealth of NZ$50 million.

Political views

Key portrays himself as more centrist than his predecessor, Don Brash. However he also notes the differences are more of style, than anything else.Fact|date=February 2008 Key has in the past noted others' concern at the pace of asset sales, but argued that the arguments against selling assets in the 1980s were largely irrational.Fact|date=February 2008 In an interview that appeared in the Herald on March 23, 2002, he is quoted as saying "some form of orientation towards privatisation in health, education and superannuation makes sense."

Key has a mixed voting record on social issues: he voted against the bill creating civil unions, [cite web |url= |title=MPs vote 65-55 in favour of Civil Union Bill |date=2004-12-02 |accessdate=2008-02-27 |author=Newstalk ZB and Herald Staff] but was part of a large bloc of MPs voting to defeat a bill that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. [cite web |url= |work=Hansard |date=2005-12-07 |title=Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill, First Reading] Key voted for an ill-fated attempt to raise the legal drinking age from 18 back to 20. [cite web |url= |title=Drinking age stays at 18, review announced |date=2006-11-09 |author=Mike Houlahan |accessdate=2008-02-26]

Key says that he believes that global warming is a real phenomenon, and that the Government needs to implement measures to reduce human contribution to global warming. Key has committed the National Party to working towards reducing greenhouse emissions in New Zealand by 50% within the next fifty years. Critics note that as recently as 2005, Key made statements indicating that he was skeptical of the effects and impact of climate change. Fact|date=February 2008

Critics note that Key has changed his views on the Iraq war since becoming leader of the opposition. In 2003, as an opposition MP, Key emphasised National's position of supporting New Zealand's traditional allies, the United States and Australia. Key came under fire in the New Zealand Parliament in August 2007, when the Government claimed that had Key been Prime Minister at the time, he would have sent troops to Iraq.cite web |url= |title=All you wanted to know about John Key but were afraid to ask |author=Matt McCarten |publisher=New Zealand Herald |date=26 August 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-29]

Religious views

Key does not profess any faith as such, describing himself as "not a heavy believer" and not a believer in life after death, although his mother was Jewish which makes him Jewish through his maternal lineage. If elected to government, and subsequently as Prime Minister, Key would be the third premier of New Zealand with Jewish ancestry (Julius Vogel and Francis Bell being the other two).


External links

* []
* [ New Zealand Herald feature: "John Key - the unauthorised biography"]

###@@@KEY@@@###Incumbent succession box
before = "Constituency created"
title = Member of Parliament for Helensville
start = 2002
succession box
before = Don Brash
title = Leader of the Opposition
years = since 2006
after = Incumbent

-succession box
before = Don Brash
title = Leader of the New Zealand National Party
years = since 2006
after = Incumbent

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