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John Key: Eleanor Catton has same political insight as Richie McCaw

Booker prize winner Eleanor Catton has no great insights into New Zealand politics according to the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister John Key clarifies his comments over Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton Source: Breakfast

John Key told Breakfast this morning that he respected Ms Catton as a writer but her comments weren't any different from Richie McCaw or Sir Peter Leitch's comments on the Government.

"Eleanor Catton's comments shouldn't be taken differently to any other New Zealander, she has no particular great insights into politics," said Mr Key.

He said Catton has long been associated with the Green Party and while she doesn't have any respect for the Government he has respect for her as a writer.

The author hit back yesterday at her "vicious" and "patronising" media critics, saying it is part of her job as a writer to give an honest opinion about her country and its Government.

"I've been speaking freely to foreign journalists ever since I was first published overseas, and have criticised the Key government, neo-liberal values and our culture of anti-intellectualism many times," she said in a statement posted on her website.

The Booker Prize-winning author sparked fierce debate last week when she told reporters at the Jaipur Literature Festival that New Zealand is run by "neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture".