Greens' red tops keep heat on PM

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012
Green MP Kevin Hague shows off his Absolut Homo T-Shirt.
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
SPORTING RED: Green MP Kevin Hague shows off his Absolut Homo T-Shirt.

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Prime Minister John Key may have hoped his comment about a radio host's "gay red top" would go away but the Greens weren't prepared to let him off the hook yesterday.

Gay MP Kevin Hague yesterday sported a red T-shirt, with the slogan "Absolut Homo" in bold black letters, around the parliamentary complex.

However, he wasn't brave enough to wear it into the debating chamber, which would have breached its strict dress code requiring men to wear a shirt and tie.

Fellow Green female backbench MPs also wore red yesterday in protest at Key's comments.

Key has said he was just joking around with Farming Show host Jamie Mackay on Friday, and meant no offence. On the same day, he reportedly said English footballer David Beckham was "thick as batshit", attracting the attention of international media.

The "gay red top" comment was yesterday condemned by Hobbit star Sir Ian McKellen, who said Key should "watch his language".

The actor, who has a strong association with New Zealand, said he was currently touring secondary schools in Britain.

"[I'm] attacking homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the careless use of 'gay' which might make their gay friends and teachers feel less about themselves."

Key yesterday refused to comment further, saying he'd dealt with the matter on Monday.

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