Key: NZ's role in Argo disappointing

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 14:53 27/02/2013

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It was "disappointing" Oscar-winning film Argo misrepresented the role of New Zealand diplomats in the Tehran hostage drama, Prime Minister John Key says.

The film, directed and stared in by Hollywood actor Ben Affleck, won the Oscar for best picture earlier this week.

It tells the story of six American diplomats rescued from Iran after a siege on the United States embassy there in 1979.

New Zealand, British and Canadian diplomats helped with the successful plan to smuggle them out of hiding in the Canadian embassy.

In the film their role was downplayed and the efforts of the CIA were exaggerated.

Key said the representation of New Zealand's role was "a bit disappointing".

It would be helpful if the film had been more accurate but it was "still a good movie and it did well", he said.

The actual details were declassified under Bill Clinton's administration in 1997.

"See Ben Affleck today is telling everyone that he loves New Zealand and loves New Zealanders so that's a good thing," Key said.

He said it would be nice if Affleck thanked New Zealand.

"In the end it's the movies. It's Hollywood and we know all about that," he jibbed in reference to the Government's dealings with Warner Bros over the Hobbit films.

Affleck told the British Telegraph newspaper he struggled with the depiction of New Zealand and British diplomats but said he depicted events the best he could.

"But I was setting up a situation where you needed to get a sense that these six people had nowhere else to go. It does not mean to diminish anyone."

He said he loved New Zealand and New Zealanders.

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