Collins says hair-pulling wasn't right

08:57 am on 23 April 2015

It wasn't right for the Prime Minister to repeatedly pull the hair of a waitress, even though he apologised afterwards, says senior National Party MP Judith Collins.

Judith Collins Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

John Key said it was just a case of him "horsing around" and that he said sorry to the Auckland waitress once he realised she had taken offence.

In a blogpost on Wednesday, the waitress described feeling upset, offended and frustrated by the Prime Minister's actions.

Ms Collins said many women would find having their hair pulled inappropriate.

"It hasn't happened to me, but I guess some people just have their quirky little mannerisms and what they might see as a joke, sometimes can fall flat in that the recipient doesn't find it funny."

"I know the Prime Minister so well, he would not have been thinking that he was going to upset anybody."

But Mr Key had apologised and that was the right thing to do, she said.

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Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

New Zealand First's deputy leader Tracey Martin said pulling a woman's hair was not acceptable behaviour from anyone, let alone a world leader.

"If he doesn't understand where people's personal boundaries lie then we have some rather serious problems," she said.

Cabinet Minister Jo Goodhew said she was sure the Prime Minister regretted that he had made the woman feel uncomfortable and that was why he had apologised.

Peter Dunne Photo: RNZ

United Future leader Peter Dunne said having your hair pulled was no laughing matter.

"I had the occasion last year of being at a function when someone grabbed a full handful of my hair and yanked it because they were convinced I was wearing a wig," he said.

He said it was painful and they were wrong.

Mr Dunne said in any situation where a person's personal space was invaded and they took take offence, it was entirely appropriate for the offender to apologise.

Mr Key will be hoping he can straighten the highly embarrassing matter out before attending the Anzac centenary commemorations in Gallipoli.