26 Aug 2011

Key says he has a socialist streak

7:57 pm on 26 August 2011

The Prime Minister says he stands by a statement he made in 2007 that most New Zealanders have a socialist streak, including himself.

The comment was included in a Wikileaks cable release, quoting a United States diplomat who'd met with John Key, in 2007, as the National Party opposition leader.

He's quoted as saying a National government couldn't adopt conservative policies, because a socialist streak runs through all New Zealanders.

Today he was asked if he stands by that comment.

Mr Key said, from memory, it was in response to a conversation about some very right wing policies.

"My basic point was that New Zealand is a very caring country. Some of the things we see take place in the rest of the world where there are overt signs of poverty and begging is not something we want to see in New Zealand. In that regard, New Zealanders do have a heart."

Mr Key says he includes himself in that description, in part because he's a product of the welfare state.