Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Men try to put meals on Prime Minister's bar-tab

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Two unemployed men arrested after trying to put their meals onto Prime Minister John Key's bar-tab this week claim Key had offered to shout their meals and then reneged - a claim the Prime Minister's office has rejected.

The two men spoke to Scoop about the incident on Monday night at the Green Parrot restaurant in Wellington, a well-known nightspot frequented by MPs including NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Kent Boyd and Andre Jellema told Scoop they saw Mr Key when he arrived at the restaurant with some acquaintances. After initially being rebuffed by Mr Key's security, the pair managed to introduce themselves, said they had voted for him asked to have a photo taken with him.

Mr Boyd said they had told him they were unemployed and it was their only night out for the year.

"Then, being cheeky, I said 'would you pay for the meal?' And he goes 'absolutely.' So we thought, 'great, we've saved $80 bucks, and couldn't stop saying what a good guy he was."

However, Mr Boyd said when they told the manager "John's got our tab" he did not believe them. After checking with Key's security the pair were marched out and charged with breach of bail before they were put in the cells for the night.

Mr Boyd said he now referred to Mr Key as "John Dot-con" because the Prime Minister had not gone through with the alleged promise to pay.

However, a spokesman for Mr Key has rejected that version of events saying the Prime Minister was never asked to pay for the meal, and had not offered to pay.

He would not comment further, saying it was being dealt with by the police.

Mr Boyd was also later charged with theft from the Green Parrot of $82 - the cost of their meals.

Mr Jellema said his bail conditions prohibited any alcohol, but had only had one beer and had the incident with Key not happened, it would not have been an issue. Mr Boyd said his bail conditions prevented him being drunk in a public place - but he also had only had one beer and subsequent testing had shown minimal alcohol in his system.

Wellington Police confirmed a 45 year old - Mr Boyd - was arrested for breach of bail and theft and a 41 year old - Mr Jellema - was arrested for breach of bail. A spokesman said Police would make no further comment because the matter was now before the courts. Both were due to reappear in court next month.

- NZ Herald

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