Key preaches to the converted at festival

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 27/01/2014
John Key
BRUCE MERCER/ Fairfax NZ

FESTIVAL FUN: John Key was up for photos with festival-goers at Parachute.

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Prime Minister John Key's sausage sizzle went down a treat for some Parachute festival goers but left a sour taste in the mouths of others.

The PM turned out to the largest music festival in the country on Saturday, where he gave a speech and threw a few snags on the barbecue for enthusiastic revellers.

But Auckland's Jared Dixon, 25, was unimpressed with the PM's visit and called it an election-year stunt.

"It was definitely a PR statement," he said.

Dixon, a youth worker who works in the education system, said Key was only there for the votes.

"Let's be honest, there is a massive voting bloc here and the sad reality is most of these Christians are voting for National too."

He was not there for the political performance and said his own Christian beliefs did not align with National Party politics.

"It's a joke from my point of view," he said.

"We're talking about a guy, Jesus, who stood for the poor and oppressed," he said.

"That's what Jesus' standards were. It was about downward mobility, enabling the poor and oppressed, it was about comforting the poor."

Auckland woman Hannah Bates, 20, said people sprinted to catch a glimpse of the PM when they heard he was at Mystery Creek.

"One kid that I know bought him a Red Bull and delivered it to him and he just opened it up and started drinking," she said.

Parachute chief executive Mark de Jong invited Mr Key and Labour Party leader David Cunliffe in an attempt to remain politically neutral, but only the Prime Minister turned up.

"The Prime Minister has chosen to come on election years, there's obvious reasons for that and I don't blame him for that."

He said the crowd went wild when Mr Key entered the stage and he was adamant the festival should roll out the welcome mat.

"I feel like we need to respect and support leaders.

"New Zealand is great at being cynical and pulling down and criticising but actually this guy is the leader of our country and until he is voted out I think it is our responsibility to support him.

"How cool for all of those people to say, ‘the Prime Minister of New Zealand put a sausage on my piece of bread'," said de Jong.

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