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Obama invites Key on play date

John Key's last meeting with Barack Obama - in October as the NZ PM attended the East Asia Summit in Brunei - lasted all of 10 minutes.

This morning in Hawaii, he got a serious amount of face time as the Prime Minister played a round of golf with the US President.

Mr Key's teenage son Max and President Obama's personal aide Marvin Nicholson rounded out the foursome.

The US Consulate in Auckland says President Obama invited Mr Key to play. The pair spent several hours together Thursday local time.

The Whitehouse released an official photo of the golf date (above right) and said in a statement that the leaders have developed a close partnership, which reflects the countries' friendship and broad cooperation.

It said while Mr Obama and Mr Key are enjoying some time off with families and friends, they have reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing regional security. 

"In addition to sharing their mutual interest in golf, the leaders talked about working together to deepen trade, enhance security and support democratic values shared by both countries," the Whitehouse said.

The Whitehouse did not reveal the final score; right-wing blogger and pollster David Farrar claims to have the inside word: the President and the PM won.

Both men are holidaying on the Hawaiian island of Oahu; Mr Obama at a rented home, Mr Key at his $6 million apartment.

The game was played at a golf course on a military base on the island.

The golf date saw US media, including the Washington Post, not only identify Mr Key (a feat not managed at Nelson Mandela's funeral), but spell his name correctly - although "New Zealand" got a touch mangled in a tweet by deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting Ben Rhodes:

The Post says President Obama is an avid golfer, but was not on form today - at least on course’s second hole, a 423-yard par 4 that includes a large water hazard on the initial drive and a dogleg left - where media were allowed a photo op.

President Obama’s approach shot landed short of the green. He putted it on, then missed his putt from the green about 2 feet left of the hole before taking a "gimmee".

Max Key did manage to sink his putt, according to an Associated Press report.

AP says the President gave John Key's son a high-five and quipped, "He's doing it in front of the cameras, too."

The President and the Prime Minister pulled up to the second hole in a golf buggy. The President was at the steering wheel.


Comments and questions

Does the President's golf cart come with big buttons on the dash that says "nukes", "drones" and "refreshments"?

No. Only one button which states "refreshments after drones nuke Green Peace"

Nice to see the PM can get home for his holidays.

The best NZ leader in my lifetime by a country mile, this is outstanding for the whole of NZ..... brilliant!!

Before you all come out Tall Poppy slashing, check NZ out, against every other country in the world, we are very very fortunate to date.

The only problem is I can't see where he has done any leading. Manager, maybe. Doesn't meet the definition of a leader.

It doesnt get much better than this. Max also had a day he will never forget. Well done!

Could you image any of the loony left leaders getting this opportunity??

If results win elections, the Prime Minister will need a bit more than "Golf with Obama" on his empty score card. Double bogie, Prime Minister.

I reiterate,
New Zealand is extremely lucky to have a leader of the caliber of John Key and the Government that we currently have. Not only is John Key a very personable leader but it would seem that his ability to mix and mingle with anyone as well as an ability to network is up there with the best. You could not buy the benefits that an event such as this will bring for NZ. Good on you JK. Keep up the great work.

Why the sock 'n sandal combination, John? It's just not on.

I see your point. Any revelation that Key wore socks and sandals would clearly turn this from a photo op triumph into a PR disaster.

However, after a minor social media storm, the mob consensus is that it's an optical illusion. The PM is in fact wearing golf shoes.

Upon closer inspection I am inclined to agree with the optical illusion theory put forward.

However the aforementioned combination is clearly ambiguous and should not be repeated.

My apologies to all.