John Key remained a popular prime minister by never committing to anything but leaves behind a backlog of neglect and deferred decisions.
Into the mild blue yonder then.
Leaving parliament for the last time today John Key will reportedly spend a little more time at his holiday home in Hawaii – take up a role as some kind of glorified equerry to a Japanese billionaire – hit the speaking circuit and fulfil a promise to his wife with some quality time in Italy.
Having risen largely without trace it seems his final trick will be to disappear without trace too.
Yes his valedictory speech will be dutifully covered by all media and friend and foe alike will rise to clap him from the chamber but there appears to be little sense of history surrounding the occasion.
On reflection it’s entirely fitting.
Key’s singular ability to navigate the inevitable traps and obstacles of political life relied on reducing everything to a shrug and a variation on the theme that ‘most New Zealanders would be comfortable’ with whatever it was he was shrugging about.