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PM apologises for ponytail pulling

Published 22/04/2015

New Zealand's prime minister John Key has apologised for repeatedly pulling a cafe worker's ponytail
New Zealand's prime minister John Key has apologised for repeatedly pulling a cafe worker's ponytail

New Zealand's prime minister has apologised to a cafe worker who said he repeatedly pulled her ponytail when he visited over a period of months, even after she told him to stop.

The worker wrote an anonymous post on The Daily Blog website, saying John Key began pulling her hair at the eatery near his home last year during his successful re-election campaign and continued the behaviour throughout March.

At first, she wrote, she did not say anything and thought Mr Key was probably trying to be "playful and jolly".

But eventually, she said, she told his security detail she did not like it and later told Mr Key "No" repeatedly and wagged her finger at him. When he pulled her hair again on a subsequent visit, she said she told him to stop "or I will actually hit you soon".

"I really didn't like it," the worker wrote. "I felt powerless and tormented and I stepped out the back and I cried frustrated tears."

The worker said Mr Key came back soon after the last incident with two bottles of wine from his own vineyard and gave them to her, saying: "This is for you, sorry, I didn't realise."

Mr Key's office said today the premier visits the cafe regularly with his wife and has a good relationship with the staffe.

"His actions were intended to be light-hearted," a statement said. "It was never his intention to make her feel uncomfortable and he has apologised to her."

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