Prime Minister John Key says his golf game with US President Barack Obama was the equivalent of a decade of bilateral meetings.

In his first post-Cabinet conference of the year, Mr Key revealed more details about his five-hour chat with Mr Obama over 18 holes of golf in Hawaii this month.

Mr Key, who has a holiday home in Hawaii, said he had "wide-ranging discussions" with Mr Obama, touching on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP), Edward Snowden and personal matters.

He said the two leaders discussed Mr Snowden in the context of "wider security issues". "He is aware of ... what sort of scale and scope of information Mr Snowden has had access to. I made it clear to him that none of that was in the New Zealand domain yet but there was high expectation that it would be this year."


Mr Key said the President broadly shared New Zealand's view on the TPP.

"We can all see the challenges that are there, but we can also both see very much the prize that lies in wait of countries if they sign up."

Asked whether he still needed to visit the White House after having such a comprehensive discussion with the President, he said: "At the end of the day ... we probably had a decade of bilaterals in one golf game ... but because there's so many areas where we engage with the Americans ... I think it's a good thing if we can get that formal meeting."

Mr Key said he and Mr Obama played as a team, and beat his son Max, who teamed with a presidential aide.