John Key arrives in Samoa

Last updated 21:17 01/06/2014

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Prime Minister John Key has arrived in Samoa on the first leg of a five day Pacific Island tour, throwing his moral weight behind a future All Blacks test there.

The All Blacks have never played a test here and Key said it would be "nice" if they could play here to reflect the close relations between the countries.

But it had to fit in with their schedule and be practical "so I think it's a matter of if it happens rather than when it happens".

He said he could not realistically play a role in that because it was for the Rugby Union to decide.

"But I suspect they will be looking at it saying that the history of our two countries it is do that we've never had the opportunity to play here on Samoan soil."

He said the All Blacks would be a huge hit here and the was a passion for the game in Samoa.

His party arrived 45 minutes late due to a technical problem with the defence force Hercules that picked up part of the 40-strong contingent from Wellington.

Key said they were minor issues and arriving 45 minutes last was "not too big a deal".

Key tomorrow will join in Samoa's Independence Day celebrations. He said New Zealand would be contributing financial support to Samoa when it hosts the United Nations small island developing states conference.

But it would also be making "a small contribution to tourism" to mark the day tomorrow.

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- Fairfax Media

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