By Seamus Boyer

editor@age.co.nz

The political powerhouse that is our Prime Minister has decided to move on.

John Key shocked many yesterday with his decision to stand down, a year out from the next scheduled general election.

Mr Key is no doubt popular in Wairarapa.

That’s no surprise, as the region is of course a National stronghold.

But apart from opening the odd building or statue, the Prime Minister was never in town very often, at least not in any official capacity.

What his wider legacy will be is yet to be seen.

When all the dust has cleared New Zealanders will make up their own minds – often along political lines – as to how good he was for the country.

One thing is certain, it will take a bit of time to get used to Mr Key no longer being in charge.

And that’s because he was everywhere.

The media man that John Key is meant he turned up on television, on the radio and in our newspapers and magazines at every turn.

He was part of the furniture of the country, and has been for eight years now.

He would also talk about or comment on nearly anything, sometimes to his detriment.

So happy was he to play the clown or joke around that he often made a fool of himself, but it never left much of a mark and he always managed to bounce back.

In the end that’s what many people will remember, Mr Key dressed in a silly hat, having a beer, dancing at the Big Gay Out, or eating a hotdog.

The millionaire Aucklander who managed to pass himself off as an ordinary Kiwi bloke.

That’s pretty impressive.

His legacy will obviously be more serious than that.

Whatever your political persuasion he’s led the country for nearly a decade with few major scandals, and will leave with the economy in pretty good shape.

His handling of major natural disasters has also been effective.

He may not have turned up in Wairarapa very often, but he always fronted in places like Christchurch and Kaikoura when it mattered most.