Prime Minister John Key has today cancelled his trip to Argentina because of the earthquakes but intends to travel to Peru later this week for Apec if circumstances permit.

Key was scheduled to leave tomorrow for Buenos Aires, Argentina, for two days before heading to Lima for Apec.

As a result of this morning's earthquake, Key has made the decision to postpone his visit to Argentina.

"The situation is still unfolding and we don't yet know the full extent of the damage," Key says.


"I believe it is better that I remain in New Zealand in the coming days to offer my assistance and support until we have a better understanding of the event's full impact.

"I want to thank Civil Defence and emergency services around the country who responded so rapidly, and also those New Zealanders who supported the large number of people who were evacuated.

"My officials have conveyed our apologies to the Argentine Government and I intend to call President Mauricio Macri in the next few days," Key said.

The final decision about whether to go to Apec will be made later this week.