Key denies offering to pay unemployed man's dinner bill

The Green Parrot Cafe (Google Maps)
The Green Parrot Cafe (Google Maps)

A man who was thrown out of a cafe after claiming the Prime Minister had agreed to pay for his drinks and meal wants $10,000 in compensation from the police.

Kent Boyd, unemployed, was at the Green Parrot Cafe in Wellington in 2012 with a friend when they ran into John Key.

This part, Mr Key does not dispute.

"I was there," he told Paul Henry on Tuesday.

What happened next though forms the crux of Mr Boyd's claim against the police. He says he asked the Prime Minister if he'd pay for their feed, to which Mr Key allegedly replied "absolutely".

Mr Key says this didn't happen.

"That's not an accurate version of the way I remember the conversation."

When Mr Boyd and his friend were finished eating, they told cafe staff Mr Key would be picking up the tab and tried to leave. The staff didn't believe them, and with the help of Mr Key's Diplomatic Protection Service (DPS), had the pair ejected.

They were held in police cells overnight - Mr Boyd was on bail for a past conviction and wasn't supposed to be drinking alcohol. He was charged with theft, but that was later dropped. A judge also later found no breach of bail had occurred.

In 2013 the Independent Police Conduct Authority ruled the DPS hadn't used unreasonable force.

Mr Boyd is now seeking $10,000 in compensation, claiming he wasn't given the chance to ask Mr Key himself to tell staff he'd pick up the tab, and that he shouldn't have been held in a cell overnight.

He wants Mr Key to testify that he offered to pay for the meal, and his lawyer has sent the Prime Minister's office several letters requesting a formal statement from Mr Key about his recollection of the events of that night.

He has so far refused to get involved, but may have to if he's summonsed.

"Let him take his action against the police and if we go to court, we go to court."