7 Mar 2013

Key not going to Chavez funeral

12:33 pm on 7 March 2013

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key won't attend the funeral of the President Hugo Chavez on Venezuela on Friday, despite being in South America.

Mr Key was due to meet with the President Sebastian Pinera of Chile on Friday. Mr Pinera will attend the funeral in Caracas, but will still be back in time to have dinner with Mr Key.

Mr Key said his schedule is very tight and it does not make much sense to change it as New Zealand does not have a political relationship with Venezuela, only a trade one.

New Zealand will send a representative to the funeral.

Mr Chavez died on Tuesday (local time).

Former Green MP Keith Locke said it is a mind boggling blunder for Mr Key not to go.