John Key in Antarctica

Prime Minister John Key and his wife flew to Antarctica last night (Friday) for a three-day trip. The plan was for a four-day trip, leaving on Thursday evening but the weather in Antarctica was a problem.

So Thursday evening, John Key and his wife were dining at a restaurant in Christchurch when he fainted. He stood up, then fell. He was taken to hospital but doctors decided that there was nothing wrong with his health. Perhaps he was suffering from jet lag as he had only just returned from an overseas trip or perhaps it was exhaustion. The job of Prime Minister is an exhausting one.

Today he hoped to fly to the South Pole but the flight was cancelled because of snow so instead he visited Captain Scott’s 1901 hut. He will host a dinner for US guests tonight. New Zealand and the US do a lot of scientific work together in the Antarctic. The US base at McMurdo Sound is only 5km from the New Zealand Scott Base.

New Zealand scientists in the Antarctic hope that John Key will realise the importance of their research and make sure the government provides funding for this research in the future.


• fainted – collapsed for a short time
• jet lag –long aeroplane trips from countries which have a different time zone can cause tiredness or jet lag
• exhaustion (n), exhausting /exhausted (adj) – extreme tiredness; it is a very, very tiring job / he was exhausted (tired)
• fly (v), flight (n)
• research – scientific studies
• funding – money


‘suffering from jet lag’
This is a useful idiom e.g. suffering from a cold / a headache / the flu / exhaustion

• the Antarctic (with definite article) or Antarctica (no article); the US (article) or USA (no article)
• ‘the New Zealand Scott Base’ – here the definite article refers to the base not the name of the base
• pronunciation of ‘the’ before a vowel – ‘e’ becomes I: – however, before ‘u’ the usual pronunciation is possible
• ‘a three-day trip’ – ‘three-day’ is an adjective and does not have a plural ending e.g. a two-year old child

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