A curious image of Prime Minister John Key has popped up in central Tauranga overnight, sparking more speculation that international street artist Banksy could be in town.

The image of Prime Minister John Key being beamed up by an UFO while flipping the bird, wearing a shirt saying 'don't vote' has been found on a wall of a service lane behind Grey and Elizabeth streets.

Brian Berry, asset manager for PMG, was pleasantly surprised to discover new artwork on the wall of his workplace last week. Photo/Andrew Warner
Brian Berry, asset manager for PMG, was pleasantly surprised to discover new artwork on the wall of his workplace last week. Photo/Andrew Warner

The image is reflective of Banksy's stencil style, and his traditional theme of political and societal messages.

The painting is signed off with a stamp reading "Banksy".

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Read more: Is Banksy really in Tauranga?

A Tauranga City Council spokeswoman Viktoria Ermes said it had no idea who had done the street art.

''We know nothing about it. It's nothing initiated by us.''

Ms Ermes said the mysterious piece was great because it sparked conversation and intrigue, ''which is what street art is meant to do''.

The council, in partnership with Oi You! and Tauranga Art Gallery, is bringing the 2017: Paradox: Tauranga Street Art Festival, which will run from March until the end of June.

Festival director George Shaw said he also knew nothing about the art work and did not know who was responsible for it.

''What's interesting is this piece appears to have had more time and care put into it than the others.''

Last week, two Banksy-styled artworks also appeared in central Tauranga - with no apparent owner.

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''If you look at the detail in it, it has been a very well delivered stencil,'' Mr Shaw said.

Darryl Milne, who worked a few stores down from the mural, said he had not seen it before.

He said the thought of Banksy being in town was "really cool".

A woman walking to work this morning told the Bay of Plenty Times she had not seen it there yesterday.

The arrival of the mural comes on the heels of Mr Key's shock resignation yesterday afternoon.

Mr Key will formally step down as Prime Minister and leader of the National Party on Monday.