Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Paddling passion shared as part of 'pyjama diplomacy'

Mr Key, wife Bronagh and son Max are guests this weekend at Mr Turnbull's luxury home. Photo / Angelo Soulas
Mr Key, wife Bronagh and son Max are guests this weekend at Mr Turnbull's luxury home. Photo / Angelo Soulas

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is planning to share two of his great passions with John Key this weekend: the magnificent Sydney harbour and some fine Australian red.

Mr Turnbull loves kayaking on the harbour and, weather permitting, he plans to share a paddle with Mr Key this morning.

In an unprecedented move for a foreign leader - dubbed a "sleepover" and "pyjama diplomacy" by the Australian media - Mr Key, wife Bronagh and son Max are guests this weekend at Mr Turnbull's luxury home.

Estimated to be worth about $60 million, it sits on the harbour's edge at Pt Piper, not far from central Sydney.

The Keys caught a Sydney ferry from town yesterday afternoon with Mr Turnbull and his wife, Lucy, a former Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Mr Key said he and Mr Turnbull often texted and phoned each other and on some occasions he had caught him on his Bluetooth phone while he had been out kayaking.

"You'll hear the paddles sploshing around."

When Mr and Mrs Turnbull were in Auckland in October, the Keys took them to one of their favourite eating haunts, Antoines.

They were planning to dine at home last night.

"I texted him and told him to dust off a couple of decent Australian reds."

Mr Key said they would probably take a walk and possibly have breakfast at a local cafe.

The Turnbulls decided to stay in their 1940sq m Pt Piper estate instead of using the official Sydney prime ministerial residence, Kirribilli, after Mr Turnbull became Prime Minister in September last year.

Their home has its own swimming pool, private jetty and boatshed and they raised their two children there.

According to the Australian, they commissioned artist John Olsen in 1997 to paint the view from the home and it has pride of place in Mr Turnbull's Canberra office.

Mrs Turnbull told the paper she had vetoed a request by Mr Turnbull -- for the artist to paint him in a kayak being chased by a shark.

Mr Key said he found Mr Turnbull "really easy to get on with".

"He's economically focused and so am I.

"He is most comfortable and most engaged when he's talking about the economy."

Mrs Turnbull was "extremely intelligent," politically very focused.

"She has strong views and is not afraid to express those views."

- NZ Herald

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