David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Prime Minister John Key draped in current flag at NZ Open

Prime Minister John Key was happy to wear the current New Zealand flag around his shoulders today, despite leading the controversial flag change referendum.

Key wore the current flag at the New Zealand Open golf tournament in Queenstown today, after former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting - a member of the four-man Australian team competing in the transtasman Celebrity Challenge event - placed it on the ground at the first tee at The Hills course in Arrowtown.

Ponting engaged the Prime Minister in some light banter along with members of the New Zealand team, before Key flung the flag around his shoulders.

Ricky Ponting lays out the New Zealand flag for New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to wear. Photo / Getty Images
Ricky Ponting lays out the New Zealand flag for New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to wear. Photo / Getty Images

Despite pushing for change, Key insisted he was happy to wear the current flag and did not believe wearing it would impact upon the ongoing referendum.

However, he regretted not having the alternate blue and black silver fern version on hand.

"No, no, no. I felt proud to be in it," said Key. "I don't think it will make too much difference (to voting), no. I would (have preferred to wear the alternate flag) but that's OK.

"That's OK, that one served me well on the first hole. I parred the first so it obviously didn't work.

"But it's going well, the referendum. There seems to be a hell of a lot of people voting. From what I can see, 1.2 million, or something so far, so it's strong."

 New Zealand Prime Minister John Key picks up the New Zealand flag. Photo / Getty Images.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key picks up the New Zealand flag. Photo / Getty Images.

Key joined the Kiwi side for today's final round, in place of actor Shane Cortese, joining former Black Caps captains Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum and former All Blacks halfback Justin Marshall.

His presence was not enough to lift the Kiwis to victory, with the Australian's, led by former national cricket captain Allan Border, enjoying a 20-12 win.

The celebrity event followed matchplay format, with players earning two points for each win and one point for a half.

MILLBROOK DAY 1 MATCH SCORES

S Fleming v G Robbins - AUS won 3&2

J Marshall v R Ponting - AUS won 7&6

B McCullum v I Cleary - AUS won 5&3

S Cortese v A Border - NZ won 1up


THE HILLS DAY 2 MATCH SCORES

S Fleming v R Ponting - AUS won 4&3

B McCullum v A Border - NZ won 1up

J Marshall v G Robbins - AUS won 1up

S Cortese v I Cleary - NZ won 1up


JACKS POINT DAY 3 MATCH SCORES

S Fleming v I Cleary - NZ won 5&4

B McCullum v R Ponting - A/S

J Marshall v A Border - AUS won 5&4

S Cortese v G Robbins - A/S

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