Prime Minister John Key stood with his arms behind his back and a grin on his face as David Letterman took the proverbial out of New Zealand.

The CBS host of the Late Show that is beamed around the world asked Mr Key about New Zealand being voted in the top five destinations in the world for six years running.

"It's a wonderland, isn't it?" Letterman asked.

"Sure is," Mr Key replied.

Letterman then asked if New Zealand was near Tasmania.

"Yeah, it's near Tasmania and sort of around Australia," Mr Key said.

"How many years ago did you get on the plane?" Letterman asked.

Letterman then asked why Mr Key was on stage before being told that the New Zealand Prime Minister was to read the "top 10 list" of reasons to visit New Zealand.

The first reason was that the Auckland Airport now had a Cinnabon - a doughnut outlet. We also have the "loosest slot machines in the Pacific" and are only a convenient 20 hour flight away.

Number seven on the list was: "Its like England without the attitude".

Key also gave a bit of Kiwi slang that included the words bach, jandals and "get the whanau together".

Letterman did not understand much of that but Key continued... "Visit in the next 30 days and I'll pick you up from the airport".

Mr Key boasted that 70 per cent of New Zealand's power is hydro-generated. "Look, they don't all have to be jokes".


Letterman replied: "Good for you, good for you, Prime Minister" before Key continued with number two: "We drive on the left side of the road, like the British and Lindsay Lohan".

Letterman then said: "And the number one reason you should visit New England... New Zealand.

Key nodded and said: "Unlike the rest of world, we still like Americans".

Mr Key said he and Letterman joked about the distance between the US and New Zealand, with the talk-show host saying that New Zealand was his favourite country that he has never visited.

Letterman has a fear of flying, but said he took a great interest in New Zealand.

Knowing Letterman was a motor-racing fan, Mr Key presented him with a Indy 500 champion Scott Dixon T-shirt.

Tourism NZ had pushed for a spot on the show so that Mr Key, New Zealand's tourism minister, could push the country's profile.