John Key took over Paengaroa School's school assembly yesterday - to the delight of the 226 children in attendance.

The Prime Minister, dressed in a grey suit and pink and purple tie, arrived as the children of the school sang Dave Dobbyn's Slice of Heaven.

School principal Bruce Lendrem welcomed Mr Key and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley to the school. Children had the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister 11 questions, while the school's choir and percussions group performed for him.

Mr Key took the opportunity to tell the children about his role of leading New Zealand.


"How we operate is we are divided into teams. It's the best way of thinking of it, think of us as the blue team and if you become captain of the blue team and your team is the biggest you become the Prime Minister. I'm the captain of the blue team and have been for ages, so I'm the Prime Minister because our team is the biggest."

Mr Key quizzed the children on the number of prime ministers there had been before his - the 38th appointment to lead the country.

"Our big job is to make all the rules and decisions."

Year 6 pupil Ashwin asked Mr Key what was the most difficult part of job.

"In any year you get lots of challenging things. I'd say the most challenging have been two events. The Christchurch earthquakes and, when I first became Prime Minister, we were going through a bit of bad time in the economy, lots of mums and dad were losing their jobs, so we have been doing a lot to get them back into work."

Toby, also from Year 6, found out Mr Key's favourite rugby player was Richie McCaw. If McCaw ever came for dinner, Mr Key said, he would cook him whitebait fritters, spaghetti bolognese with apple crumble and hokey pokey ice-cream for dessert. Jasmin, from Year 5, asked if he could fix one problem in the world, what would it be?

"I think if I could click my fingers and make one big problem go away, it would be for people to stop fighting with each other," he said.

The Prime Minister also visited Comvita's tourist attraction in Paengaroa yesterday morning and was shown through the guided tour by Experience Comvita manager Drew Copestake and the Comvita chief financial officer, Mark Sadd.

The tour explores the healing properties of New Zealand's native plants, including manuka.

The Prime Minister also inspected the soon to be completed Tauranga Eastern link.