Prime Minister John Key had brushed off research suggesting his political success will likely put him in an early grave.
“Any sacrifices in terms of some extra grey hair and a few more wrinkles are well worth it,” Key said.
New research has confirmed the stress of becoming an elected head of government means prime ministers, presidents and chancellors age faster and die nearly three years younger than their failed challengers who never reach office.
This is the first time I feel regret that Winston never got to be Prime Minister 🙂
The study by a team of American researchers, published in the British Medical Journal as part of its Christmas series, used survival data on 279 elected leaders and 261 runner-up candidates in parliamentary or presidential elections across 17 countries, spanning from 1722 to 2015.
It included 22 of New Zealand’s Prime Ministers and 10 runners-up who never served in office, from 1855 to last year’s re-election of John Key.
“We found that heads of government had substantially accelerated mortality compared with runner-up candidates.”
Let’s look at this for NZ. WWII and beyond we’ve had 10 former PMs die. The average age of death is 69.
Only three opposition leaders (who never became PM) have died in the same time period. The average age of death is 79.
Andrew Little should be pleased!