The coolest head I have ever seen on a pair of shoulders is John Key's.

I watched him up close, first, in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and, second, the Canterbury earthquakes.

His was the toughest of jobs. He had the entire country looking to him for guidance, he had limited information, and he had to contend with the pressure cooker of modern news coverage.

Key provided the reassurance and long-term recovery plans that the country needed. He never lost his cool. He has a head for making the big calls. And for making the right ones.


We saw it again with Dirty Politics. That was tough in an election campaign. No one knew what was coming next, the dirt was being dripped out, and the media were baying for blood. Key kept his cool. He is impressive. I hope he's Prime Minister after next Saturday.

But it's a close-run thing. It's not decided by how popular Key is, or how many votes National gets. It's the total centre-right vote versus the total centre-left that counts. And that's a nail biter.

There's also every likelihood that voters won't decide the Government. That could be up to Winston Peters. It's deplorable but that's MMP and that's Peters' cunning. To vote New Zealand First you must not care whether Cunliffe or Key is Prime Minister and whether the Greens are in Government. A vote for Peters is for any of the above. Peters will go with who is best for him. You have been warned.

Cunliffe has been the campaign loser. He may well end up Prime Minister but he has Labour polling in the 20s. He would start his Prime Ministership on the back foot without popular support and with the Greens and others in the box seat pushing him around.

The other loser is Hone Harawira. He sold out himself, his party, his electorate. The best to be said is that he wasn't cheap. Kim Dotcom kicked in $4.5 million.

Harawira may do well with Dotcom's bankroll but his integrity is gone. It's not something he can buy back.

The big winners this election are the Greens. They are the third party of New Zealand politics. Labour must now figure out how to work with them.

But the real winners are always the voters. Our votes determine the shape of our Parliament. Every three years we get the power to change our Government. We take it for granted but it's a rare and wonderful thing.


We should give thanks, too, to every candidate who puts their name forward for the trauma and tribulation of an election campaign. Without these hardy and brave souls we wouldn't have a race. They make democracy possible.