As a rumour, it’s surprisingly prevalent.
Just as he wanted to be a successful businessman, but not necessarily the world’s wealthiest, John Key wanted to be prime minister, but not necessarily the longest-serving.
After achieving the top job, he would serve a few years before going out on a high.
According to the theory, Mr Key would hand over to Steven Joyce sometime before the 2014 election.
This gets pushed a lot, mainly I suspect by Labour. There is a degree of truth to it. I don’t think John Key is obsessed with staying Prime Minister for as long as possible, and I think he could well retire before he loses an election.
However I’ve never thought he would not contest the 2014 election, and seek a third term (if he gets a second). Anyway Matthew asked Key the question about 2014:
When I asked Mr Key specifically this week if he intended to serve a full second term and lead National into the 2014 election, he barely bothered with the usual platitudes about “taking one election at a time” or “serving at the pleasure of the party and the public.”
His answer was not arrogant but it was unequivocal: yes, that was exactly his intention.
So that’s one little rumour we can put to bed.