A SELF-MADE KIWI COMES TO POWER
If there’s one quality that political neophyte John Key brings to his new job as New Zealand’s incoming prime minister, it’s a belief in perseverance. The 47-year-old leader of the centre-right National Party grew up in a single-parent home under the guidance of a Jewish mother who fled her native Austria in the perilous 1930s. When John’s British-born father died in 1969, the Keys fell into poverty and lived in public housing. Yet Key had a dream. He attended university, graduated with an accounting degree, landed his first job in 1982 as an auditor, and then moved overseas and worked his way up to be a senior foreign exchange trader for Merrill Lynch. In the process he accumulated a personal fortune worth $34 million. Not bad for a kid whose mother had to accept welfare. As for his impending stint as leader of New Zealand, critics say he’s untested and prone to making gaffes on TV. That, however, resonated with Kiwi voters who are looking for change from nine years of Labour Party rule. Change is something Key knows how to do.