Russia had a shirtless President on horseback, Australia had Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers, and now Prime Minister has added to the catalogue with a poolside shirtless snap.

John Key's son Max Key posted an Instagram 'selfie' shot of himself and Mr Key apparently enjoying a late autumn swim beside the family's swimming pool with the Prime Minister's upper shoulder and chest on display.

It quickly did the rounds on social media - many made references to Russia President Vladimir Putin's famous shirtless photos while on horseback and fishing.

Some objected to the glimpse of Prime Minister's chest, while others said Mr Key was clearly enjoying family time and criticised those spreading the photo. There were also the inevitable references to Mr Key's hair pulling predilections.

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The Prime Minister made no comment.