New Zealand's ponytail-pulling PM gets a dressing down on Twitter

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2015 16:04 IST

A story broke on Wednesday about New Zealand prime minister John Key; and you'd probably have seen it by now. Now, politicians and awkward break-outs of foot-in-mouth are not new. But as tics go -- we’ve had MPs on camera picking their noses -- Key has a strange one: He likes pulling ponytails.

In an anonymous blog post, a waitress from an Auckland cafe wrote Key repeatedly tugged on her "tantalising" ponytail, having approached making "scary, suspense sound effects, like the music from the movie Jaws."

Key, leader of the National party and seven months into his third term as prime minister of New Zealand, on Wednesday apologised for pulling the waitress’s hair, explaining that it occurred "in the context of a bit of banter."

However, this is not the first time Key has misjudged a social interaction since becoming prime minister of New Zealand in 2008 -- it’s not even the first time he’s pulled someone’s hair.

In 2014 he was filmed on a current affairs program touching the ponytail of a young girl at a market near Auckland.

Although Key was forced to defend his ponytail-pulling, folks on Twitter are not done with him, just yet.

After world media played their part in blowing the story, Twitter users are stumbling over each other not to be left behind on this stellar piece of political and media history. Their sentiments are loud and clear: Oh god yes, it’s weird. Pulling someone's ponytail is an odd thing to do for someone in the public eye. They're calling it #ponytailgate.

As we wait for memes inspired by Key's latest antics, sample some of the Twitter reactions:

For those who were unaware of, or had happily forgotten about all the amusing memories Key had given the Kiwis, The Guardian ran a story, New Zealand prime minister's weirdest moments (so far).

Some highlights include the time the prime minister brought up his vasectomy at a press conference. Then the time in 2010 he made that cannibalism joke, suggesting a Maori tribe might "have him for dinner", which he described as a “light-hearted joke”.

And believe it or not, he once even said he was not sorry for being a man, when he was photographed wearing a tee-shirt that read "I’m not sorry for being a man". Oh and you have to know about Key’s enthusiastic awkward three-way handshake with All Blacks captain/national treasure Richie McCaw and World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset after a match.

The author can be reached on Twitter at Sanya Panwar

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