The Prime Minister will not be attending the funeral service for the two New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
The bodies of the two New Zealand soldiers are expected to arrive in Christchurch around 10pm tonight.
Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone were killed during a firefight in Bamiyan province on Saturday night.
A military service for the two 26-year-olds will be held at Burnham Army Base on Saturday.
However, John Key will not be in attendance, as he leaves for the United States tonight so that he can watch his son Max play in the first under-17 baseball team to ever play in the World Series.
"In the end it's a difficult decision. I've got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job," Key said.
He said he has spoken to the families of the soldiers and explained his situation.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will attend the funerals in his place.
A ramp ceremony was held on Monday to farewell the soldiers from Bagram Air Base, one of the largest US military bases in Afghanistan.
After a "rousing" farewell haka they were passed into the care of their comrades from the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan.
They are travelling on a United States Air Force C-17 back to New Zealand.
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