'Selfie' better than an autograph

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 05:00 07/08/2014
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ

Prime Minister John Key has been out visiting schools and businesses in Porirua and Kapiti.

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Prime Minister John Key copped serious questions about Gaza, student loans and medicinal marijuana yesterday, but his audience, young and old, really only wanted one thing - a selfie.

And it's just as well Key professes not to be sick of them, as the self-taken snaps are shaping as a prominent feature in the lives of our political leaders for the next five weeks.

"I reckon this election is going to be the election of the selfie, because I have done about 2000 this week alone," he told primary school students at Whitby's Discovery School yesterday.

In his day it was autograph books, he said.

The snap-happy leader added considerably to his tally on a tour of Porirua and Kapiti schools and businesses. He was mobbed at Kapiti College after a specific invitation from principal Tony Kane for students to take their pictures.

Dozens of eager teens clambered over each other for a digital memento, and some for a hug along with it.

One eager young fan managed to score two snaps, although, to Key's disappointment, she was still too young to vote.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy were off to the side of the mob taking a selfie of their own - a trend which has lit up the Twitter profiles of many MPs this year.

Earlier in the day, even local business leaders were lining up to get in the frame with the National leader.

Key faced a largely friendly crowd yesterday - including the students, who asked him whether he had a stunt double, preferred Marmite or Vegemite, and what his favourite colour was.

But some more serious concerns were also raised. Iraqi refugee Omran Denkha, a worker at Porirua's Tanker Solutions, spoke about trying to get his 71-year-old mother and his sister, currently sheltering in Turkey, to New Zealand.

Suzanne Rogers also asked about the Government's plans to help low-income earners into homes, saying her daughter would never be able to come up with the deposit required to buy her own home.

Business owner Mark Hughes raised the issue of Wellington employers struggling to attract and retain good staff, saying the capital was being neglected in favour of Auckland and Christchurch.

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