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Jessica Mutch: PM's tough funeral call

opinion Jessica Mutch

By Jessica Mutch

Published: 1:02PM Friday August 10, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Prime Minister will be spending the next week in Maine in the US watching his son play baseball for New Zealand in the under-17 team.

It is the first time a New Zealand team has qualified for the World Series. This decision means he will miss the funeral at the weekend of the two New Zealand soldiers who died during a firefight in Bamiyan Province last Saturday night.

John Key said yesterday: "It's a very difficult decision, I've got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job."

Key has visited with the families of Lance-Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone to explain and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will go in his place.

There is no question the Baseball World Series is a big deal and that Max deserves to have his dad there supporting him, but the role of Prime Minister means you have to make personal sacrifices.

These soldiers died serving New Zealand in Afghanistan, they were there under the Prime Minister's watch and it's important that he attends the funeral. Not just out of respect for the families and the Defence Force but also as a symbol to the rest of New Zealand to show the importance of the sacrifice these two men made.

I'm sure this isn't a decision the Prime Minister made lightly and I'm sure many people will applaud him for putting his family first.

I got mixed feedback on Twitter. Stephen Lethbridge said: "That is why we have a Deputy Prime Minister. @johnkeypm is a Dad as well as Prime Minister."

Kate Reeve Rushbrook said: "And so he should! He is a father. Good on him."

But not everyone agreed. Liz Shaw said: "He knew the duties when he signed up and if he can't fulfil his responsibilities as PM he shouldn't be doing the job."

Don't forget that in 2010 Key flew home from Gallipoli to attend the funeral of three men who died when their Iroquois crashed on Anzac Day. This meant he had to abandon a trade mission in the Middle East.

It's times like this you have to balance personal and national interest. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but Key has made his call.

What do you think? Have your say on our messageboard

Read more opinion pieces by Jessica Mutch 

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  • ioneeye said on 2012-08-12 @ 17:50 NZDT: Report abusive post

    It's a no brainer and it is his decision, so let it be.

  • truthnz said on 2012-08-10 @ 09:56 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Well done John, the fallen have gone, you have visited the famlies and paid your respects. Its what you do when people are alive that matters, not when they are gone.

  • Wisefrog said on 2012-08-10 @ 08:03 NZDT: Report abusive post

    At the end of the day, in any job FAMILY COMES FIRST! There are enough governmental officials to represent the people of NZ (and I dare say many will at the expense of NZders). If the PM's trip is being paid by the taxpayer, then that is a different story of course. We do not know if he has taken "leave of absence" from his parliamentarian duties to attend his son's event and I guess we never will be told that.

  • Jacques Maitland said on 2012-08-10 @ 07:00 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I think that John Key made the right decision because his son proprably does put up with a lot, because his farther will always working so good on you John Key

  • nzdinamo said on 2012-08-10 @ 06:46 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Great to see we have a Prime Minister that is father first and foremost. That is his most important job in life and he obviously takes it seriously. Its a pity more people dont put their children first. It is a tragic loss of life and we respect all of these soldiers who risk their lives everyday and send prayers for their families at this sad time.