Right Wing Prime Minister of a Left Wing Caucus

John Key is molded in the tradition of previous National Prime Minister: the 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand – Jim Bolger.
Bolger was elected in 1990 on the promise of delivering a ‘Decent Society’.
Bolger wasn’t a traditional conservative – he had liberal views (particularly on Waitangi and sovereignty issues).
Immediately and unfortunately upon his election, Bolger had to deal with the bail-out of BNZ and the dispassionate and rabid right wing Fnance Minister Richardson. Though Bolger understood fiscal restraint, he was ultimately unhappy with Richardson who garroted Social Welfare within days of the 1990 election.
These events tilled fertile ground for the Fifth Labour government with socialist leanings. The standard has now been set for a larger and more intrusive central government than was previously the case as much of New Zealand Zealand pines for ‘the “good old days”, when Clark and Cullen held the reins.
A reminder here: The Fourth Labour Government with it’s implementation of “Rogernomics”, was fiscally further to the right than the current National Government.
Though liberal in some respects, like Bolger, Key tends to the right of his caucus colleagues.
However many of Key’s political peers have been raised in a more liberal environment, courtesy of the long tenure of the Fifth Labour government. This is moving Key more to the right wing of¬† National. Key’s political instincts are now under threat by this.
The most telling recent example of this was the age/alcohol consumption vote. Key was certain the numbers within national would move the age of off and on license consumption back to 20.
The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the status quo.
Henceforth, I doubt Key can really be sure of where the support lies on many non-fiscal issues. Electorate MP’s with thin majorities will be looking to Garner, Gower, Katherine Ryan et al and there may be frequent off message deviations by these MP’s.
So can Key be sure of adequate support into the next election ?
Brian Edwards casts doubt on this with this post:
I disagree with Edward’s statement that Key will stand down before the next election and that Key looks tired.
Key is National’s best brand. Though perhaps tired, he still reeks of the Golden Boy persona that the baby-boomers love.
This is why the Greens mainly attack by belittling ‘Planet Key’. The attacks are insubstantial and ‘Brand Key’ will withstand many batterings through to the next election.
Key’s plans for the next term and his strategic exit will be fully formulated but his nearest and dearest political cronies will have yet to glimpse the planned execution. He’ll take the electorate by surprise when he does decide to go as opposed to Clark’s predictable resignation.
Key is a master strategist, even more so than former PM Helen Clark.
Clark never shifted off a core message. This apparent arrogance sunk her in the end. Key has never moved from the “lower tax” and “smaller government” core message but he has been able to cope with a certain amount of “green grooming”,by the likes of Nikki Kaye.
He has the ability to play into the opposite end of the court for a greater percentage of possession. 
My prediction is Key will stay through the next election. He’ll leave as soon a the ink is dry on the Coalition agreements and after putting the boot into the teachers’ Unions one final time.
Replacement prediction ?
Crusher as leader, Ryall as deputy.

 National MP Judith Collins. A future party leader?

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