Okay, are you as weirded-out by John Key's hair-pulling antics as I am?

Mr Key has apologised to an Auckland waitress who accused him of harassment and bullying after he pulled on her ponytail on repeated occasions.

The woman's account of the incident was published on a blog site yesterday, and the Prime Minister's office confirmed he had apologised.

At what point did our Prime Minister become that embarrassing uncle who doesn't know his boundaries?


According to the woman, it happened at the cafe where she worked on multiple occasions across several months.

She was adamant he understood she was uncomfortable with the touching and pulling, but even if he was somehow oblivious to her discomfort, in what world do you go around pulling people's hair? Other than the schoolyard, perhaps.

The National Council of Women yesterday sent a Dear John letter to the Prime Minister, saying: "We need to change our culture so we don't see touching someone as being our right, unless we know that it's welcome. We need you to lead from the top."

The letter discusses sexism in New Zealand, saying: "This type of well-intentioned sexism might seem harmless. But sexism has serious impacts. It's behind the statistics your Government releases showing inequality in our pay, violence, and the lack of women in leadership."

And those saying Mr Key's actions are just a bit of harmless fun with no element of sexism might want to consider whether he would have pulled the ponytail of a male cafe worker.

It doesn't help that video re-emerged yesterday of the Prime Minister pulling a little girl's hair on an old Campbell Live segment.

Some might suggest there are more important issues to be outraged about. That's not incorrect, but we also shouldn't and can't ignore this bizarre #ponytailgate story.

Kiwis love it when we make global headlines. But this is embarrassing and the headlines in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald and so on over the past 24 hours, we really could have done without. Just as one Auckland waitress could have done without the unwanted actions of this nation's leader.