The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

I sus­pect many peo­ple in the Palmer­ston North com­mu­nity will have been as sur­prised as I was by Mon­day’s dual res­ig­na­tions.

Dis­cov­er­ing Prime Min­is­ter John Key’s in­ten­tion to stand down from the role on De­cem­ber 12 was enough to leave the mouth agape. But add to that the news of City Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Paddy Clif­ford’s im­mi­nent de­par­ture, and it made for quite the busy news day.

Re­gard­less of per­sonal pol­i­tics, it’s hard to ar­gue with Key’s suc­cess in ap­peal­ing to a large num­ber of New Zealan­ders, while also unit­ing his party. The over­ar­ch­ing pub­lic opin­ion of Key be­ing a ‘‘nice guy’’ was per­haps his great­est po­lit­i­cal weapon, and one his party will miss.

Clif­ford did not have the pub­lic pro­file of other CEOs but he worked hard to right the coun­cil’s books, en­gaged with neigh­bour­ing coun­cils and cham­pi­oned the demo­cratic process.

Jonathon Howe, Manawatu Re­gional Edi­tor

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