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John Key: career highs and lowlights

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/12/2016

A LOOK AT JOHN KEY'S ACHIEVEMENTS AND FAILURES AS PRIME MINISTER FOLLOWING HIS SUDDEN RESIGNATION

ECONOMY

* Under Mr Key, the government guided the economy through the Global Financial Crisis, with economists branding New Zealand the "rockstar economy" of the OECD in 2014 and the dollar taking a hit on the resignation

* National's stability and conservative style of fiscal management won praise from other governments, particularly from across the Tasman - but it didn't announce its first surplus until 2015, despite long-time promises

* In recent years it's also struggled to put a lid on skyrocketing house prices and rising housing unaffordability, particularly in Auckland

DISASTERS

* Mr Key led the nation through the Christchurch earthquakes and rebuild, and visited the families of the 29 men killed in the Pike River Mine disaster - both of which continue to make headlines years on

* More recently, he's overseen the response to the Kaikoura quake, which has left the government with an unexpected bill

REFORM

* During his time as PM, the government passed wide-ranging and often controversial reforms, including tax cuts, welfare policy, labour law changes, an overhaul of the justice sector and a partial selldown of state assets

* It also oversaw the introduction of same-sex marriage in New Zealand - which Mr Key voted in favour of

POLLS

* Under Mr Key's leadership National has polled consistently well, still nudging 50 per cent in some research ahead of his third-term resignation

* He also proved popular with other world leaders, playing golf with US President Barack Obama in Hawaii and striking up a so-called "bromance" with Aussie PM Malcolm Turnbull.

FLAG

* Mr Key was left disappointed after fronting an unsuccessful campaign to change the country's flag earlier this year - seen by some as a "legacy project"

PONYTAIL

* He came under fire and made global headlines after pulling 26-year-old Auckland waitress Amanda Bailey's hair against her wishes while she was working

TPPA

* Mr Key oversaw the signing of the much-protested Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - and was still championing the free trade deal in the days before it was put on ice by US President-Elect Donald Trump

AWKWARD MOMENTS

* The Prime Minister also gained a reputation for moments of awkwardness over the years: being caught in a three-way handshake with Richie McCaw at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, showing off some less-than-elegant dance moves and drawing fire over a few radio interviews which struck some as too casual

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