7 Mar 2016

PM confronted burglar in his home

7:01 pm on 7 March 2016

Prime Minister John Key has shared his experience of being burgled three times and says he understands the frustration other victims feel.

Prime Minister John Key during caucus run.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

A discussion about burglary rates at the prime minister's weekly Post Cabinet news briefing took a personal turn, with John Key recounting details of the "three or four" times he and his family have been burgled.

None, however, have been since he was elected prime minister.

On one occasion he was the Leader of the Opposition and living at his current home in Parnell, Auckland.

Mr Key said he was surprised to come across a burglar downstairs "in the flesh" (Mr Key would later clarify he himself was fully clothed - just to avoid any misinterpretation); he started screaming, the burglar ran off and police officers with an Alsatian dog arrived shortly after.

"Yeah, well, the wife sent me down to sort it out.

"We thought at the time it was a joke, well, not a joke, but we thought the alarm was going off because the weather was so bad.

"As it turns out there was actually someone downstairs and at that point I started screaming - next thing I know the cops turned up."

However, the police were not able to catch the person.

John key with his wife Bronagh and son Max walking to Parnell school to vote

John Key with his wife Bronagh and son Max Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The family was also burgled when they lived in Johnsonville, and again in their Burwood Crescent home in Remuera when Mr Key said the whole house was cleaned out.

What made it memorable, Mr Key said, was that his wife's birthday present was also stolen - a pink Honda City.

"And that was of some amusement to the cops at the time that I'd be stupid enough to buy her a pink Honda City, but anyway..."

But on a serious note, he said he could understand the frustration of people who had been burgled.

"People feel as though, and rightly so, that it's an invasion of their privacy, they feel violated by that often, and often you actually see a situation where the goods stolen aren't necessarily of such a high economic value, but they're often very high sentimental value.

"So there's a lot of pain and suffering from burglary."

In one case when his family's house was burgled, a couple of people were caught and sent to prison, he said.

"They had a 'P' habit they were trying to support and they burgled our place in St Stephen's Ave.

"The people that undertook the burglary at our place as it turns out had undertaken a lot of burglaries in our area, so one of the reasons why the police do follow up, apart from their sheer responsibilities, is that sometimes I think there are some people who undertake a lot of burglaries.

"Getting information to solve multiple crimes is something they're trying to do."