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

PM and family to spend weekend with the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II and John Key in the White Room at Windsor Castle in 2011. Photo / AP
Queen Elizabeth II and John Key in the White Room at Windsor Castle in 2011. Photo / AP

Prime Minister John Key, his wife Bronagh and their children Stephanie and Max will spend the weekend with the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland later this month - finally taking up an invite that was first extended three years ago.

Mr Key will leave next week for the private visit, which is part of a trip to London, Paris and New York, where he will speak at the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr and Mrs Key were originally invited to stay at Balmoral three years ago but called off the trip at the last minute because of the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake.

It is a rare honour to be invited to Balmoral, although it is unclear whether any former New Zealand Prime Ministers have visited.

Mr Key will meet with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Labour leader Ed Milliband in London before heading up to Balmoral, in Aberdeenshire, from September 20-22.

Mr Key will also meet with French President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and Economy and Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici - it is his first visit to France since Mr Hollande became President last year.

"This visit is an opportunity to talk about Europe with two key EU member states. Both are also permanent members of the UN Security Council. Their perspectives on regional and global issues are of strong interest to New Zealand," Mr Key said.

In New York, he will speak at the UN General Assembly and help lobby for support for New Zealand's bid to be on the Security Council in 2015-16.

The elections for the non-permanent seat will be held in October 2014 and Turkey and Spain are also seeking it.

"Small states like New Zealand need to have a place at the UN's top table. New Zealand shares the desire of other countries to see a strong and effective United Nations."

- NZ Herald

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