Prime Minister John Key says someone thought he called famous football star David Beckham ''thick'' after overhearing a private conversation.
Mr Key reportedly said Beckham was a nice man but also ''as thick as bat shit'' during a talk with a group of high school students in Dunedin on Friday.
The former England and Manchester United player - who now plays for Los Angeles Galaxy - came to New Zealand in December 2008.
Mr Key and his son Max met him then.
British and Australian media were quick to pick up on reports of the comments.
Mr Key this morning refused to deny he made the comments but suggested he had been misheard.
''That is someone that thinks they've overheard a conversation I've had.
'''Somebody has overheard a personal conversation and that's their recollection of it. That's their view.''
He said he would not engage because otherwise he would have to do so every time someone reported his comments.
''The person thought they overheard me saying something,'' he told TVNZ's Breakfast show.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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