Despite Prime Minister John Key's unwillingness to discuss the tea-cup tape contents, the recording remained a major theme on his campaign trail today.

As Mr Key took to the main street of Upper Hutt this afternoon to drum up support for National's Rimutaka candidate Jonathan Fletcher, many of the locals had something to say about the recording of his cafe meeting with Act's John Banks in Newmarket last week.

Audrey Stuart, from Silverstream, told Mr Key she was "disgusted'' that the conversation was recorded.

"I say to my husband every night 'That man, it's not fair the way they're treating him','' she told him.


Mrs Stuart later told media she was not interested in what was on the tape, and that it was a private conversation. She said Mr Key had been fair and up front about the recording, and she would be voting for him.

Many others were willing to laugh about the tape, including Mr Key himself, even though he abruptly left a media stand-up this morning when repeatedly grilled on the issue.

Surrounded by cameras and microphones as Mr Key stopped for a chat this afternoon, one woman assured the Prime Minister she was not operating a recording device.

A stop for a cup of coffee at the local Buttercup cafe, provided ample opportunity for jokes.

"I'll definitely be having a coffee,'' Mr Key said, before ordering a trim flat white - most certainly not tea.

However, the walk-about was not a laughing matter for everyone, and several people raised serious policy questions when they had a chance to talk to Mr Key.

Kianna Maere, 16, told him she wanted to be a beautician when she left school, but would not be able to if the wages were too low.

"How come you don't want to raise [the minimum wage] to $15?'' she asked him


Mr Key said the important thing was getting a job. "The issue, I don't think, if you're young is not the starting point, it's where you can go.''

Kiana later said she thought Mr Key had been answering in the "nicest, possible way'', but had not been convincing.

Pensioner Ron Hunt was also left unimpressed with Mr Key, after posing questions about housing affordability to him.

Mr Key held up lower interest rates, KiwiSaver and National's tax changes as examples of what his Government had done to help the situation.

However, Mr Hunt later told media he was not satisfied by Mr Key's answers and he planned to vote Labour.

Earlier in the day, Mr Key walked out of a media stand-up when reporters continued to ask questions about the recording, telling them that he and New Zealanders were interested in issues such as the economy rather than the tape.

Following his visit to Upper Hutt, Mr Key reiterated to media that the tape was a "sideshow''.

"I have moved on. I believe I was illegally taped and I've referred that matter to police.''

He cut short the question time with media again, jumping into his car and ignoring further questions about the contents of the tape.

Mr Key laid a complaint with police this week after a freelance cameraman left a device recording Mr Key and Mr Banks' conversation in an Auckland cafe on Friday.