World media: NZ election vote 'as reasoned as a doped slug'

By Edward Gay

The world press have given mixed reviews of New Zealand's election with some writing of a desire for change while others have likened the country's enthusiasm and reasoning power to that of a "doped slug".

Writing in the Melbourne Herald Sun, Jill Singer, writes: "Our dearly beloved neighbours suddenly think a former investment banker can make them ruch, as well as thuck."

She describes the New Zealand election as resembling "a domestic squabble over whose turn it was to put out the garbage, only without the heat and sense of urgency".

Singer writes that New Zealand voted for change for change's sake and that the voting public "just got bored".

"Instead of doing the sensible thing about it, like reading a good book or moving to Australia (which 11 per cent of Kiwis have already done) they decided to turn out in their tens and vote for a new government."

She goes on to compare National leader John Key to Barack Obama.

"Bring Barack Obama to mind - strip him of charisma and vision, then douse him in White King [bleach] - and you've got NZ's new PM."

Under the headline, "NZ PM-elect John Key is Malcolm Turnbull's clone " Queensland's Courier Mail continues the theme of comparisons, this time to the Australian opposition leader.

"NZ PM-elect John Key is Malcolm Turnbull's clone", the Courier Mail makes comparisons between the two leaders.

"Mr Key is a former merchant banker and self-made millionaire who, like Mr Turnbull, is also from a modest background."

The Australian reports Key's rise to power.

"He will have gone from relative obscurity to international statesman in only six years, when he entered parliament."

The paper reports that beneath the "easygoing and personable style", Key is "steel", according to some of his associates.

The paper quotes Murray McCully: "I think people inside the caucus took some time to understand that behind that very affable exterior is a guy who's very tough. You also have to be very bright, a cut above a bright senior cabinet minister."

In the UK, the Times Online also makes mention of Mr Key's background as an investment banker.

"A multi-millionaire known as the smiling assassin during his career as an investment banker in London became New Zealand's prime minister yesterday," it said.

"He acquired his nickname after sacking dozens of employees during his time as a director of Merrill Lynch in Australia and Britain in the 1990s."

The Scotland on Sunday quotes Mr Key's victory speech borrowing from Obama: "Today, New Zealand has spoken in their hundreds of thousands, they have voted for change".

The paper goes on to report: "He made another reference to Obama, saying that unlike the American there would be no new dog for his children after the election".

The Independent in London reports that New Zealand, like the US, had a "desire for political and generational change".

"Mr Key is 47, the same age as Barack Obama, and, like him, is relatively untried. He inherits similar problems, including an economy already in recession. However, New Zealand, with its population of 4.1 million, is a minor player on the world stage".

The Israeli paper Ha'aretz, reports Mr Key's Jewish background.

"Key has been less than forthcoming about his positions regarding Israel, but stresses in interviews that he is a friend of Israel and wants to visit Jerusalem. Members of the Kiwi Jewish community point out that Key took part in Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations, and has donated to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem," reports the paper.

The Times of India makes mention of New Zealand's first Sikh MP, former New Delhi businessman Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi.

The paper also reports the five other MPs from the Asian continent, including Korean-born Melissa Lee and Pansy Wong for National and Labour's Rajen Prasad, Raymond Huo and Ashraf Choudhary will be members of Parliament.

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