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Key hopes state housing plan will ensure no one like him ever becomes Prime Minister again

Key hopes his policies will shield poor children from ever having to lead their country.

Key hopes his policies will shield poor children from ever having to lead their country.

In his state of the nation speech this afternoon, Prime Minister John Key told an Auckland Rotary audience that he was “fully committed” to reforming the state housing system to ensure that, in a New Zealand led by him, he would never have become Prime Minister in the first place.

Key, who was born and raised in state housing, said his government plans to reduce the number of state houses in Housing New Zealand ownership by about 8000 by 2018, moving them into the hands of subsidised private owners.

“The experience of countries like Australia and the United Kingdom,” he said, “is that having non-government organisations involved in social housing, alongside the Government, is a better way of doing things.

“It is a better way of doing things because these local providers can potentially better meet the needs of their tenants, but probably won’t, and will instead land them in difficult situations the Government has no control over.

“We can only hope those circumstances will prevent them from ever becoming Prime Minister.”

Key recounted at length to the audience his experiences growing up in a state house, and how it had helped him gain a foothold on his path to attaining what he described as “the worst job in the world”: Prime Minister.

“It is lamentable that, when I was a kid, we lived in a New Zealand where a child of extremely poor wealth could rise and rise, become so happy, and then somehow end up here; in a job where no one ever leaves you alone, you have about 3 hours a week to spend with your family, whose names you’ve forgotten, and you can’t even tell a joke like a normal human being.

“It is my belief, and the Government’s belief, that no poor child should be forced to endure this success.”

The remarks drew a standing ovation from Rotary members, who required medical attention afterwards.

Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little responded to the Prime Minister’s comments later this afternoon, saying that while the goal of preventing future John Keys from holding public office was “the right one,” the Government’s plan would not work.

“What he’s saying is, we’ll sell, what? 8000 of more than 60,000 homes owned by Housing New Zealand?” said Little. “That’s actually a very small number. The vast majority of poor kids will still be provided for by the Government, still have an opportunity to get out there and succeed, and even many of those in private housing will, too.”

Little argued that the best way to prevent poor kids from having to endure the nation’s highest office was to move all state houses to a town without hope or job prospects, such as Palmerston North, or New Plymouth.

“I was born in New Plymouth,” said Little, “and I’ll never become Prime Minister.”