Many politicians struggle to find enough time to spend with their other halves - but David Bennett has taken long-distance love to the extreme, dating an Australian senator.

In a boost for transtasman relations, romance between the fourth-term Hamilton East MP and The Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, blossomed after the pair met at a parliamentary sports weekend.

Bennett, elevated by Prime Minister Bill English to a ministerial role outside Cabinet last week, confirmed the relationship when contacted by the New Zealand Herald today, but said both were private people who did not want publicity over the romance.

"We are trying to keep it quite private."


However, he confirmed the pair met when a group of Australian politicians travelled to Auckland early last year for a sporting exchange.

They played each other in netball, cricket and football, first meeting on the netball court - although it was more memorable for him, Bennett said.

"She can't remember that we actually played against each other ... [I remember], she was the captain of her netball team, she was very competitive."

The had been a couple for about 18 months, and saw each other during work trips or weekend hops across the Tasman, he said.

Both were career-driven and sharing the same vocation helped.

"Definitely ... in politics it's a bit easier to have a partner that can understand."

Neither had plans to move permanently to either Hamilton or Melbourne at this stage, he said.

"At the moment we are very focused on our careers and our communities. She's just been re-elected."


This time of the year was the best opportunity for them to spend some time together, Bennett said.

Tomorrow he will fly to Melbourne and together they will travel to the United States, where Bennett has family.

They will stop spend most of their time in Florida, before driving to Houston for the flight back across the Pacific.

However, he was coy about any romantic plans.

The pair's shared interest in sport and politics meant any date night was likely to be focused on attending American sports' events, and soaking up the post Donald Trump election atmosphere.