New Zealand Prime Minister John Key apologised to a waitress for pulling her ponytail on several occasions at an Auckland cafe where she worked, media reported.
Key, on his way to Turkey to commemorate the World War I battle of Gallipoli, explained that he was simply being playful and friendly, and apologised when he realised that the waitress was offended.
“I realised she took offence by that, I just sort of immediately went back, gave her some wine, apologised and said I was terribly sorry,” Key said while on a layover in Los Angeles, according to news portal Stuff.
The waitress wrote on The Daily Blog that the prime minister acted like a “school-yard bully” when he regularly pulled her hair over the past six months in the company of his bodyguards.
The waitress said that though she did not protest initially, she made it clear through her attitude that she did not like it.
Key’s wife at one point asked her husband to “leave the poor girl alone”.
On the most recent occasion, the young waitress told Key to stop or else she would hit back, after which the prime minister apologised by giving her two bottles of wine.
“It seems he needs reminding that he’s not a god, he’s just a man,” she wrote, considering it offensive to hear Key say that he did not realise that his actions had upset her.
The opposition Labour Party said that such behaviour was not suitable for a prime minister, while the country’s Green Party claimed that Key’s behaviour was “weird” and showed that he was not in touch with society.