Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Key goes in to bat for 'big news' NZ sport

John Key and his wife Bronagh cheer on the Asia Pacific team that their son Max plays for, in Bangor, Maine.  Photo / Bangor Daily News
John Key and his wife Bronagh cheer on the Asia Pacific team that their son Max plays for, in Bangor, Maine. Photo / Bangor Daily News

Valerie Adams has got her Olympic gold medal, but Prime Minister John Key wants people in the United States to know that baseball is "big news" back in New Zealand.

Mr Key talked up the American sport while on a trip to the US to see his son Max's team play in the Senior Little League World Series tournament in Bangor, Maine.

The 17-year-old plays right field for Auckland's Bayside Westhaven team, which advanced to the World Series after winning an Asia-Pacific qualifying competition.

The local newspaper, the Bangor Daily News, posted a video of Mr Key listening to the New Zealand national anthem before a game.

According to the paper, Mr Key believed the feat of the Bayside team in making the tournament was "big news back home", and could help increase the sport's popularity in New Zealand.

"You're apt to see a whole lot of players willing to join the sport and participate," he told the Maine newspaper, "because we always see that when we see a New Zealand team doing well, whether it's basketball or whatever it might be."

Mr Key received both support and criticism after continuing with the trip instead of attending services for two soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister spoke to the families of lance corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone to explain why he had decided to stick with his plans to watch Max.

WHILE YOU WERE AWAY

* Services for two New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
* Valerie Adams awarded gold medal after rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
* Release of the MMP review proposal by the Electoral Commission.

- NZ Herald

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