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Key still has National's ear

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/06/2017 Boris Jancic

Behind the scenes in the National Party former prime minister John Key is doing what he can to help, but he's wary about lingering too long in politics.

Half a year after his resignation, the newly knighted Sir John tells NZ Newswire that while he's enjoying getting back to business ventures, he's still in regular contact with his successor Bill English and Finance Minister Steven Joyce, offering occasional advice.

"I'm not a Monday-morning quarterback for them. I don't ring up and try to tell them every five minutes how things can change. Where there's maybe a little bit of feedback or where they ask my view on something, I might offer it," he said.

"I'm doing everything I can, will do everything I can to support the government and see them re-elected but that's got to be behind the scene. You've got a very good government and you've got to let them do that.

"We're obviously friends and I talk to people about things."

But Sir John said he wouldn't take a loss in this year's election personally and admits it will be a tough job.

"They're are a third-term government looking for a fourth term. That's always tough. History tells you that's difficult. But they're a government that's up to that challenge," he said.

Asked whether he could see a long-term future as a commentator, Sir John said, apart from the occasional interview and speech, he would be looking to get out of the way.

"I think it's a bit sad when you get these politicians who just can't let go. You see a bit of it in Australia, people that just feel as though they have got to constantly be commenting, and I just don't think I'll do that. I just don't think it's very dignified," he said.

"It's really like you need to get over yourself if you do that, I think ... You've got to let people get on and do their jobs."

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