PM dismisses reports Royal couple cancel NZ trip

Prime Minister John Key says reports Prince William and his wife, Catherine Middleton, have cancelled a visit to New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup are "pure speculation". 

Britain's Daily Mail reported the newly titled Duke and Duchess of Cambridge planned to visit during the World Cup in October but abandoned their plans because they did not want to be involved in a political row.

The opposition had previously accused Mr Key of using the visit to improve his popularity ahead of the November general election.

The Prime Minister today dismissed reports of the cancelled trip as "pure speculation".

Mr Key said he had invited Prince William to New Zealand for the World Cup but had not received confirmation about whether he was coming or not.

The Royal family do not traditionally visit Commonwealth countries during general elections.

The paper quoted a royal source, who said the couple would also abandon plans to travel to Australia -- which they had planned to visit after New Zealand

"You can't really go to Australia without going to New Zealand so it's all been put on hold," the source said.

Prince William, 29, who is an avid rugby fan and vice patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, visited the New Zealand when the Lions toured in 2005.

After attending the couple's wedding in April, Mr Key told reporters he hoped they would visit "sometime very soon".

"The first thing Kate said to me was she wants to visit New Zealand," he said.


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