Key, Little meet with Prince Charles
Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Andrew Little have sat down for a royal audience with the Prince of Wales.
Prince Charles met first with the leader of the opposition for a brief 20 minute chat in a private room at Auckland's Langham Hotel this evening.
The men briefly shook hands and exchanged pleasantries – about Mr Little's hometown of New Plymouth, where Prince Charles and wife Camilla visited earlier in the day – before news media were escorted from the room.
Charles lamented he did not get an opportunity to view Mt Taranaki during their whirlwind trip.
Mr Little, on his way out of the room after the meeting, said he and the Prince had had a good discussion, covering topics such as climate change and the future of work.
One topic that was not covered was the flag debate, with Mr Little telling media upon entering the hotel that he would be asking whether Prince Charles had a stance on the potential change.
"I'll have to disclose at some point that I am a republican, but I believe in a respectful and courteous relationship with the Royal Family because the Queen is still our head of state," he said.
Mr Little said the flag debate came up in his conversation with Prince Harry earlier in the year and described the younger prince as being "exercised" by the issue.
"Just interested to know if [Prince Charles] has a view on it and what it might be."
He said he might also share where he thought New Zealanders where at on the issue.
When leaving, Mr Little told the assembled press he was not disappointed he didn't get the opportunity to discuss the flag after they covered other important issues.
Prime Minister John Key replaced Mr Little in the room shortly after and in between big smiles and firm handshakes also talked about the weather, the royal visit to New Zealand, and the career of veteran Royal photographer Arthur Edwards – from The Sun newspaper – who was in the room.
The media were then asked to leave before the prime minister and Prince Charles began their conversation.