A report has appeared on ABC news saying
"The New Zealand media is reporting that Mr Key has been elbowed out by Mr Rudd.Which rather suggests that it was Mr Key himself that said he was unavailable and he then changed his mind for some reason. If so it all seems rather odd then for such a fuss to have been made yesterday. Perhaps there was a bit of a mix-up between Key and his press staffers over his availability? if so, are 'heads going to roll'?
A spokesman for Mr Key admitted the government was very disappointed with the BBC's decision.
"The spokesman said he had an idea why the BBC changed its mind but he "wasn't going to do their explaining for them".
The BBC has apologised to the New Zealand government but have denied the claim Mr Key was dumped from the debate in favour of Mr Rudd.
"When we approached various people to appear we were told by some, including Mr Key, that they were unavailable," a BBC spokesman said.
"This decision was later changed and we were told Mr Key was available. By this time we had already approached other countries, including Australia, and Kevin Rudd had agreed to join the panel.
"We were then in the difficult position of having two leaders from Australasia on a panel designed to represent global opinion. In the end we accepted the offer of the Australian PM and had to turn down Mr Key."
Where the truth lies in all this we have no idea but the resulting mud slinging has done little to either enhance NZ's reputation at Copenhagen, or improve the way NZ regards Australia.
No doubt good sense will prevail in the end, we're expecting to see an a very cordial (and very public) display of mutual black slapping shortly between the two leaders.
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