In what has been described as the weirdest incident involving a Head of Government pulling the ponytail of a girl working in a restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand, the spokesperson for the Prime Minister office has issued an apology.
According to The Guardian, the waitress who worked at a restaurant where the Prime Minister patronizes frequently, expressed her discomfort with the Prime Minister pulling her hair, which she equated to a ‘schoolyard bully’ incident and harassment.
The New Zealand Prime Minister however downplayed the incident, saying it’s a kind of practical joke and he did not mean to hurt or harm anyone. He said this at the Los Angeles International Airport while enroute for a State visit to Turkey.
“There’s a lot of fun and game at the cafe. A lot of practical joke “
The hair-pulling had taken place “in the context of a bit of banter” and he had apologized to her “when I realized she took offence”. Key said when he gave her the wine and apologized, the waitress had told him, “that’s all right, no drama”
On numerous occasions over the course of about six months, Key had pulled her ponytail during visits to a cafe he frequented with his wife, according to the waitress. Despite her attempts to avoid his attention, “the game continued”, she said.
However, the opposition in the Parliament did not take this lightly as a practical joke. The Green Party leader, Metiria Turei called the Prime Minister actions as ” bullying and weird “.
“New Zealanders know you can’t walk into a cafe and start tugging on someone’s hair, especially if they’ve told you they don’t like it,” she told media. “It’s a sign of how out of touch John Key has become when he can’t even monitor how inappropriate his personal behaviour is, and when people are not comfortable with how he is behaving.” says Metiria.