John Key met his British counterpart David Cameron in London today for the first time as National Party leader and the pair promised to build on their personal relationship.
It was the pair's third meeting their first was when both were backbench MPs.
"I met him when I was relatively new to politics and he was on the backbench as well. Someone actually recommended I meet him because they thought we might both have quite good futures which was a pretty good call from that person."
That person was former national MP Max Bradford about four years ago and the meeting followed Mr Key emailing Mr Cameron. They caught up again last year when Mr Cameron had been leader less than a year and just before Mr Key took over from Don Brash in November.
"He's quite keen to build a lasting personal relationship, he's got some ideas about things how we can exchange ideas and stay in touch and that's something I am certainly going to work on," Mr Key said.
"We're really starting a good personal relationship which I think can serve us both well into the future."
Comparisons have previously been drawn between the pair and when Mr Key took over as leader he downplayed his lack of political experience to NZPA, citing the example of Mr Cameron's leadership of the British Conservative Party with similar political experience.
"I think there are a reasonable number of similarities we are both centrist in our thinking, both ambitious for our respective countries to make a change and to deliver on the promise that our respective countries have," Mr Key said today.
"You are seeing that in the poll results we've got that New Zealanders I think are very ambitious for the kind of New Zealand I think we can deliver. Equally I think that's very true over here."
Both men are leading parties enjoying comfortable leads in opinion polls, the Conservatives racing ahead of the Labour government after new Prime Minister Gordon Brown decided not to test his mandate with a snap election.
Mr Key said Mr Cameron had had to deal with a new Labour leadership in Britain which helped reinvigorate that party.
"But I think certain events in recent times have taken a bit of the shine off that for them.
"I think in New Zealand you always have to work hard to maintain support and confidence that the public give you. I think the point that you start taking that for granted you are on a very slippery slope and I think from the National Party's point of view we understand every morning that we get up we've got to work hard to try and maintain and hopefully grow our support."
Mr Key said talks with Mr Cameron were wide ranging from rugby "he was a bit more chipper about it than I was" to climate change.
Britain and New Zealand shared problems such as housing affordability.
"Their underlying driver for wanting to reduce taxes is similar to ours, which is a fear that our economies are becoming less competitive than they otherwise were."
Mr Key said he was impressed with the progressive approach to business taken in Ireland and said there could be lessons for New Zealand considering the similar size and agricultural base between the countries.
He said England shared problems, though not scale, of skills shortages, infrastructure, tax, and compliance costs.
Mr Key will call on Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, meet other MPs and call on High Commissioner Jonathan Hunt today before heading back to New Zealand tomorrow.
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