The Meaning of John Key


  • Vijay Devadas University of Otago
  • Brett Nicholls



The aim of this paper is not to present some kind of special biographical insight into John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the National Party. The making of the man narrative is by now well worn, and we readily admit that we do not know what psychological processes motivate John Key. Unlike much of the news media, we do not hold the view that the character and interior world of the private individual directly explains the very public space of political statements and activity. This is not to say, of course, that there is no such thing as personal style, or a predisposition to particular ways of doing things, or a set of beliefs that might engender specific commitments. It is to say that the interior worlds of politicians, which are no doubt interesting in some cases, ultimately don't tell us very much about the assemblages in which politicians and contemporary government operate.