It says something about the prejudices of many political scientists when asked to rate PMs of the last 100 years, there is only one National PM in the top seven.
Holyoake won four elections in a row, and is only ranked 5th. Every single Labour PM who lasted more than a year in office is listed though.
The inclusion of Kirk who lost two elections and spent barely two years as PM is silly. He spent most of his time plotting against his colleagues, achieved little except sending a frigate somewhere, and makes the list while Holland is absent.
Likewise while I personally like David Lange’s charisma and wit, I could not rank him as a sucessful PM. He had almost no control over his own Government’s policy, alienated his own support base within the Government, and resigned leaving behind a shambles which led to their worst defeat.
And the most glaring absence is Muldoon. Now I think as Minister of Finance, he was very bad, but as Prime Minister he was beyond any doubt in the top ten for the century. In fact his force of personality was almost unique.
If I had to rate the top five, I would pick:
Without arrogance, I probably know more than most about the 40 or so people who have served as Prime Minister, as one of my more fun jobs in the PM’s Office was to write most of their biographies for the PM’s website. I still have a credit on there!