Clark still most powerful but Key nipping at her heels

Prime Minister Helen Clark had better watch out, All Black coach Graham Henry could be making a pitch for her spot as our most powerful person.

As Rugby World Cup fever rivets the nation, Helen Clark has been proved more powerful than the All Blacks coach, but Henry is not far behind.

For the fourth year running, Helen Clark has topped Listener magazine's list of New Zealand's 50 most powerful people.

And just like in the wheels of Government, Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen is her No 2.

But snapping at their heels is National leader John Key, moving up in this poll as he has been in other polls.

Mr Key steps up to the No 3 spot, from ninth last year.

One behind him is Trade Me founder and household name Sam Morgan.

Another name familiar to home owners, particularly those with mortgages, is at No 6 - Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard.

Proving there is no one so forgotten as a former politician, former National leader Don Brash - who is also a former Reserve Bank governor - has completely disappeared from the list, after last year being one place ahead of Mr Key.

Sir Edmund Hillary has also climbed down off the summit, and after enjoying a 19th placing last year, is no longer on the list.

But Henry's ascent this year has been spectacular - he has rocketed from 23 on the list last year to number seven.

Could he ultimately topple Helen Clark if the All Blacks rule the world?

"It's the fourth year running that Helen Clark has topped the Power List," Listener editor Pamela Stirling said.

"It now seems to be a given among political analysts and commentators that she is the most powerful prime minister since Keith Holyoake in the 1960s."

Other politicians are also on the list. National Party deputy leader Bill English is at No 5, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples moves into the top 10 (up from 15) and debuting on the list is Green MP Sue Bradford, whose king hit this year was the passing of child discipline legislation, the so-called anti-smacking bill.

"H2", Helen Clark's chief of staff Heather Simpson, is often thought to wield power around the Beehive and it seems the Listener thinks so too. Ms Simpson retains her No 24 spot.

The Listener said there were 25 new names on the list this year including Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor, broadcaster Willie Jackson (also a former MP), David Bain campaigner Joe Karam and poet Bill Manhire.

The 50 are (last year's place in brackets):

1. Helen Clark (1)
2. Michael Cullen (3)
3. John Key (9)
4. Sam Morgan (4)
5. Bill English
6. Alan Bollard (10)
7. Graham Henry (23)
8. Henry van der Heyden
9. Pita Sharples (15)
10. Sir Geoffrey Palmer
11. John Barnett (27)
12. Lloyd Morrison (20)
13. Tumu te Heuheu (7)
14. Keith Turner (12)
15. Peter Talley (33)
16. Richard Taylor
17. Paula Rebstock (14)
18. Sue Bradford
19. Paul Callaghan (28)
20. Andy West (34)
21. Jeanette Fitzsimons
22. Stephen Tindall
23. John Palmer
24. Heather Simpson (24)
25. Mark Weldon
26. Willie Jackson
27. Craig Norgate
28. Allan Hubbard (18)
29. Graeme Hart (2)
30. Phil O'Reilly (46)
31. Campbell Smith
32. John Fellet (5)
33. Tony Carter
34. Ian Wishart (29)
35. Mark Jennings
36. Oscar Kightley (36)
37. Bill Manhire
38. Joe Karam
39. Jock Hobbs (22)
40. Andrew Little
41. Nick Hill
42. Jeremy Moon
43. Jenny Morel
44. Joe Williams
45. David Skilling (45)
46. Paul Morgan
47. Graeme Fraser (48)
48. Grant Dalton
49. Shane Jones
50. Mai Chen

- NZPA

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 03 Sep 2014 07:58:47 Processing Time: 1310ms