Key and Cameron catch up at Queen's Jubilee

One of them 'chills' by playing Angry Birds - the other reckons he is too busy for computer games.
They are also separated by a few years and their taste in music.

But for all that, British Prime Minister David Cameron - the Angry Birds addict - and his Kiwi counterpart John Key call each other soulmates.

When Key and Cameron catch up over dinner at the iconic Number 10 Downing street Wednesday (NZT),  it won't be out of duty, but as old friends.

Key is in Britain for the Queen's diamond jubilee but is also using the trip to take soundings from European leaders, including Cameron, over the Eurozone crisis.

When asked recently asked who he would invite to a stag do, Cameron put Key there, with the likes of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

He and Key met briefly at Oxford but struck up a friendship when they were both still Opposition leaders.

When Cameron was confronted with an MMP style result on election night 2009 it was Key who offered advice by phone and text.

Key, for his part, thinks of himself, Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who will be joining them for dinner, as a special breed of modernizing, less ideological, right wingers - so much so, says Key, that US President Barack Obama sees them as having as much in common with him as they do with each other, despite coming from what is traditionally seen as the other side of the political spectrum.

"President Obama has said to me... some of the leaders around the world he would count as friends are fundamentally from centre right parties - Harper, me and Cameron," says Key.

But moderate or not, the tide has been going out on the centre right internationally in the wake of a backlash to the global financial crisis.

Cameron, who rode high in the popularity stakes on his election, has seen his poll lead collapse on the back of scandals, austerity measures and the ongoing sense of crisis in the Eurozone.

His government has also blundered over measures including the so-called pasty tax - a plan to remove the gst-equivalent exemption, which would have raised a handy few million for cash starved Britain.  

The backlash was so ferocious the plan had to be abandoned.

That is one reason why Cameron won't put his friendship with Key ahead of an airport departure tax aimed at long distance travelers which will rise steeply over the next few years to as much as 350.

Key will plead again for a softening of the policy, but Cameron is expected to say no - Britain needs the money.

Key admits his own government has been the outlier in maintaining its popularity while embarking on its own belt tightening measures.

But as the austerity drive rolls into yet another year, and the tally of pasty tax-like blunders mount - classroom sizes and the paper boy tax among them - the parallels between him and Cameron are too striking to ignore completely.

And Key admits there are extra pressures on his government now.

"It doesn't  matter whether you're a non-government organisation, a small business or a family it's just tough. I don't think they're unhappy at all with us, it's just tough."

Being a second term government, the media were also tougher on him and his ministers but he had always expected that.

"That's just what happens isn't it... when you first become prime minister, it's 'John Key picks up a cat' and that's a story... I remember, you know, the first time, the fanfare and everything - it was huge for the first few months... second term, I just walked in and there was all this work piling up and I just sat down, took off my jacket and carried on. It's just different you know... and it hasn't really been the easiest of times. But funnily enough I'm enjoying it... I'm just realistic about it being trickier."

That might be useful advice to pass onto Cameron this week - though winning his second term might not be such a slam dunk for the British leader.


What game do they have on their ipad or iPhone?
Cameron is a self confessed Angry Birds addict and copped some flak recently over his work ethic after boasting he had got through all its levels.
Key apparently only has solitaire loaded in his iPad - according to his staff because he is too busy for computer games.

How do they relax?
Key unwinds by cooking and drinking a glass of wine. The meal he most enjoys cooking is a roast on a Sunday night, but he also enjoys cooking Japanese food.
Cameron also enjoys cooking and eating over a few glasses of wine and will wrap up the evening singing `My way' on his personal karaoke machine.

What do they have on their iPod?
Cameron has Lana Del Ray and Band of Horses
Key is an easy listening music man and has music mostly downloaded by his son Max including Taylor Swift

Favourite TV programmes
Cameron - East Enders, Ab Fab and Modern Family
Key - Biggest Loser, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy

Fairfax Media