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Key grapples with twin gaffes

17:39 Mon Nov 5 2012
Prime Minister John Key
Prime Minister John Key (Getty)

Prime Minister John Key doesn't think anyone should be offended by the way he used the word "gay" and he doesn't believe David Beckham is dumb.

Trying to extricate himself on Monday from his twin gaffes, Mr Key told reporters he was just giving Jamie Mackay a hard time when on Friday he described the radio host's outfit as "a gay red top".

Twitter users took it badly, calling Mr Key homophobic and embarrassing.

Asked at his post-cabinet press conference what he thought it meant, Mr Key replied: "Weird, I was just giving him a hard time, young people use it all the time, I don't think many people would be offended by it but if anyone is, I apologise.

"I's just a slang term, it's in the Oxford Dictionary, it doesn't mean anything offensive."

Mr Key said he definitely wasn't homophobic.

"I'm voting for gay marriage, I led the charge on it."

On the same day he made the remark, Mr Key made global headlines after reportedly telling students at St Hilda's Collegiate in Dunedin that Beckham was a nice guy but "thick as bats***".

The famous British footballer spent 45 minutes with Mr Key's son Max on a visit to New Zealand in 2008.

Asked on Monday whether he really thought Beckham was dumb, Mr Key said: "No, he's smart. He's made more money than me".

Mr Key, who is reported to be worth about $50 million, still isn't denying he made the "thick as bats***" remark.

"All I'm saying is I'm not going to engage in what some person has reported me as saying because it may or may not be correct," he said.

"Just leave it as it is."