Royal couple cancel New Zealand trip - report

Prince William and his wife, Catherine Middleton, have reportedly cancelled a visit to New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup due to concerns they could influence this year's general elections.

The newly titled Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had planned to visit during the World Cup in October but abandoned their plans because they did not want to be involved in a political row, Britain's Daily Mail reported.

Prime Minister John Key had previously been accused by the opposition of using the visit to improve his popularity ahead of the November general election.

The Royal family do not traditionally visit Commonwealth countries during general elections.

The paper quoted a royal source, who said the couple would also abandon plans to travel to Australia - which they had planned to visit after New Zealand

"You can't really go to Australia without going to New Zealand so it's all been put on hold," the source said.

Prince William, 29, who is an avid rugby fan and vice patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, visited the New Zealand when the Lions toured in 2005.

After attending the couple's wedding in April, Mr Key told reporters he hoped they would visit "sometime very soon."

"The first thing Kate said to me was she wants to visit New Zealand," he said.

- NZPA

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