Busy people in high positions often pay lip service to the principle that their family comes first. John Key has demonstrated that he means it.

His decision to miss the funerals of the two soldiers killed in Afghanistan last Saturday so that he can be in the United States for a sporting event involving his son would have been a difficult one.

A Prime Minister who sends men into danger has an obligation to honour their service and represent the nation's sympathy to their families when the worst happens. This will be the first time Mr Key has not attended the funeral of a soldier killed on active duty since he took office.

He has spoken to the families of Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone and it is to be hoped that in grieving for their sons they are able to understand the importance to him of his.


An under-17 baseball world series in the United States might not sound more important but Max Key is a member of the first team from New Zealand to qualify for it and his father knows what it means to him.

Only a Prime Minister's family know how much his responsibilities intrude on their life, interrupting times together and disrupting plans they have made. This time Mr Key knows where he should be. He was a father before he was a Prime Minister and he will be a father afterwards. It is important that he is a father now.