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Key jokes with Queen about his future

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/12/2016

John Key © RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly John Key In a farewell call to Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister John Key has been told she won't take an unsolicited phone call from a "lonely backbencher".

She told Mr Key, who announced his shock resignation as leader on Monday, that moving to the backbench would be "quite an adjustment" for him after eight years at the top.

"I said yes, I don't suppose you take unsolicited calls from lonely backbenchers do you, and she said, 'in a word, no'," Mr Key said.

"So I better get used to this brave new world I'm heading off towards."

They also reminisced about time spent together at Balmoral Castle in 2013, a trip which including barbecuing with Prince Philip and taking a tour of the property with the Queen in her Land Rover.

Earlier US President Barack Obama thanked Mr Key for his ongoing friendship over their eight years as leaders.

The White House issued a statement on Thursday, revealing the pair had spoken about the close partnership they had enjoyed.

"During that time, US-New Zealand co-operations reached unprecedented levels," the statement said.

According to the White House, Mr Obama also committed to New Zealand remaining one of the United States' closest partners on issues including global peace and security, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, climate change and conservation.

Mr Key has also spoken to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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