Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Still relaxed on Planet Key: what the PM can be thankful for at 55

Happy Birthday to Me. Prime Minister John Key in one of the many, many silly shirts he has to be thankful for. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Happy Birthday to Me. Prime Minister John Key in one of the many, many silly shirts he has to be thankful for. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key is on the cusp of something special today - he turns 55 years old.

His office reports he has nothing planned to celebrate the occasion other than an office cake.

The event may also spur the less generous to roll out photos to illustrate the accelerated aging process involved in holding the top job.

To help him recover the Herald has compiled a list of things Key can be thankful for.

Always happy to help.

• He might have aged, but Obama has aged more.

• He is still relaxed, despite spending a quarter of his life in Parliament.

• Despite his frequent predictions about what will happen at the end of the day, the end of the day never seems to come. ​

• His golf handicap has dropped from 24 to 11.

• His habit of kicking the tyres has boosted his fitness levels.

• When Key can no longer afford a house in Auckland he can move to Planet Key.

• His great influence over US politics. He was the first world leader to call Hillary Clinton 'President Clinton' way back in 2010 when she was Secretary of State. Six years later .....

• Key has outlasted four Labour leaders and four changes of Australian Prime Minister (including the twice-throned Kevin Rudd).

• He is not an Australian Prime Minister.

• He has invented a whole new language complete with words such as textses, trotie and scuttlebug. In the spirit of New Zealand's three official languages, he's even come up with some sign language - the three-way handshake - and translated te Reo Maori words into te Reo Key. The Maori Party co-leader's name is Too Rooroorower and United Future leader Peter Dunne's Ohariu electorate is Ohoorea.

• He got his shirtless photo out of the way early, in a Metro Magazine photo in 2006. Even then Key was no Tongan flag bearer but at least the only competition he had was shirtless Putin on horseback. Key was not up against Justin Trudeau, 44, who prompted international swooning after running around at a Pride Parade with a wet shirt like Mr Darcy emerging from the lake and standing on a beach with his wet suit pulled down to his hips.

• After all those summits and conferences, he never has to go shirtless again - he has a roomful of 'silly' shirts to choose from.

• He's promoted mens' health awareness by over-sharing. There was his declaration he had a vasectomy, his promise to undertake bowel screening and his revelation he pee-ed in the shower.

• He has contributed to national security. He told off More FM's Simon Barnett for failing to tell him his fly was undone, saying it could cause international embarrassment - and envy - if he was to wander around with his fly down.

• He has been places few other world leaders have been, such as Balmoral Castle and inside a cage with a comedian making soap jokes.

• for all his gaffes, US Presidential candidate Donald Trump has already outstripped him.

• he will not be Prime Minister when the deadlines for all his free-goals arrive, such as New Zealand being smoke-free by 2025 and predator free in 2050.

Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Illustration / Rod Emmerson

- NZ Herald

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