Tag Archives: Austria

Son of Jewish Refugee Elected Prime Minister of New Zealand

By Nonna Gorilovskaya

John Key, son of a Jewish refugee, was elected the next prime minister of Middle-earth New Zealand, the country best known for its kiwi fruit and as the gorgeous backdrop for the Lord of the Rings movies.

John Key

Ruth Lazar, Key’s mother, escaped Austria in 1939 with her family to Britain by paying for a paper marriage. After the war, she married George Key, and the couple immigrated to New Zealand. John’s father died of a heart attack when he was six. Ruth raised John and his two sisters by herself in public housing.

Key started out as a currency trader in his 20s and rose to become head of foreign exchange for Merrill Lynch and a multimillionaire. The center-right National Party recruited him to run as an MP in 2002, and his political career took off. Key has expressed admiration for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who moved the Labor Party toward the center, and is taking over after nine years of Liberal rule. As the Jerusalem Post reports:

Key campaigned as a moderate, but his policies include plans to eventually abolish special parliamentary seats for Maori and making the country’s greenhouse gas emission trading scheme more favorable to business.

On Sunday, he promised to follow through on tax cuts and pro-business, tough-on-crime policies that include registering the DNA of any suspect arrested for an imprisonable crime. Continue reading