UK papers seize on Key's Beckham quip
If the Prime Minister John Key was hoping his "thick as batsh*t" David Beckham comment wouldn't make news in the footballer's home country, he's out of luck.
Multiple UK newspapers have seized on the quip, guaranteeing it will come to the footballer's attention.
During a visit to St Hilda’s Collegiate in Dunedin on Friday, Mr Key told pupils that Mr Beckham has spent 45 minutes with his son Max during the footballer's 2008 visit to Auckland.
Mr Key said Beckham was handsome and a really nice guy to spend that long with his son, but was also "thick as batsh*t," according to a Radio NZ report.
UK paper the Mirror put Mr Key's comments to Mr Beckham's agent, who refused to comment.
The Mirror, springing to the footballer's defence, quotes an un-named person close to Mr Beckham, who offers: "For someone supposedly thick, David has done pretty well to have become one of the world’s most successful footballers and to be part of the bid to bring the Olympics to London. That doesn’t sound like someone thick to me.”
The paper goes on to list Mr Beckham's various sporting and financial achievements.
The Sun was less charitable, relating Mr Key's "stinging" and "cruel" remarks, then following it with a "greatest hits" of less-than-intelligent quotes by Mr Beckham.
Across the Tasman, the story has been picked up by Melbourne's Herald Sun.
"He played in the country, for a fee admittedly, but does he deserve this?," the Aussie paper asks - before going on to have sport with Mr Beckham's past comments itself.
The Herald Sun's sister paper, the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, is leading its sports section with the same story, as is Brisbane's Courier Mail and the Canberra Times.
A second Murdoch paper, The Australian, has also highlighted the story under the headline "New Zealand PM busted for bagging Beckham."
Mr Key was asked about his comment at a Devonport event.
"I have nothing to say," the Herald quotes him. "It was a personal comment and I am not going to engage in talking about something that someone thought they heard me say."