National leader John Key has resigned and withdrawn his party from the election.
In a shock announcement today, he admitted that he simply didn’t have what it takes to be Prime Minister.
“This hasn’t been an easy decision for me but after a close examination of the government’s response to recent events I’ve been forced to admit that a couple of decades of hard work in the real world haven’t equipped me to steer the ship of state through the rough economic seas,” he said.
“I thought that the skills and abilities which enabled me to succeed in business and my personal life and all I’ve learned from that would be enough. But I’ve been studying Helen Clark and realise I simply don’t have what it takes to do the job.
“I made a real mistake gaining international business and leadership experience when I should have been devoting myself to academia and politics at home.
“If I’d done that I’d have understood that winning an election and governing the country aren’t about looking forward and having a sound, costed plan to provide the economic foundation on which to build a better educated, healthier and more secure society where success is valued, independence is encouraged and environmental protection and enhancement are measured by results not slogans.
“I admit that’s what I thought was needed but I was obviously wrong because everyone says Helen Clark is a consummate politician and she’s not doing any of that.
“She’s looking backwards, dropping irresponsible and un-costed promises like confetti at a wedding, getting sidetracked by soap operas and muckraking. And I know this is a sign of weakness but I haven’t got what it takes to do that.
“I thought it would help to bring honesty, integrity and principles to the office of Prime Minister but a close scrutiny of the incumbent and her behaviour have shown that those things would be liabilities.
“She’s made it obvious that what you need is a complete lack of scruples; the will to surrender dearly held principles for political gain; to prostitute yourself to anyone who’ll help you cling to power; the ability to lie through your teeth and anyone else’s; and the gall to deny any knowledge of muckraking even though your hands are covered in mud.
“When it comes down to it I just don’t have the stomach for that. I wouldn’t be able to get up every morning, look myself in the mirror then face my family and try to explain to them that it didn’t matter what was happening to New Zealand and its people as long as I was in charge.
Mr Key said while he took full responsibility for his decision he also felt he’d been let down by his party hierarchy.
“When I suggested Judy [Kirk, National Party president] might dig into old university records to prove that Helen Clark once split an infinitive in an essay she said she had an election to win and wasn’t going to waste her time on inventing dirty kites that wouldn’t fly.
Mr Key made the announcement at a media conference at which he handed the election to Labour in a second hand recycled hemp hand basket.
He said he’d chosen it himself and had taken great care to ensure it would be acceptable to the Green Party which would be the new government’s dominant coalition partner.