With only 71 days to the election, Prime Minister John Key is taking an extended overseas holiday, thought to be at his bolt-hole on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

When the Herald contacted his office yesterday for comment on renewed calls for Foreign Minister Murray McCully to resign, it was told he was on holiday and would not be back at work until July 21.

Assuming he plans to spend Sunday July 20 reading Cabinet papers for the next day's meeting, that's a 10-day break.

Aerial of the Ho'olei luxury condo development in Wailea, Maui. J&B Key Family Trust purchased a unit in April 2008 for $3.25 million. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Campaign manager and Cabinet minister Steven Joyce did not believe Mr Key's break would cause National to lose momentum. "We've got a lot of things going on. He works very, very hard and we want to make sure he is in good physical shape. He's a pretty healthy individual but everyone needs a chance to recharge."


He hinted that Mr Key had been reluctant to take the time off but his colleagues had insisted, as they had last election. "It's like forcing him out the door to take a few days to freshen up and recharge before he has to get into the last 10 weeks or so of the campaign."

He said a few MPs from both sides of the House would be taking time off during the two-week recess which coincides with school holidays.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English is acting Prime Minister.

A spokesman for David Cunliffe said the Labour leader, after launching an Information and Communications Technology policy in Auckland this morning, would be taking a break.