Instagram account of 21-year-old Max Key showcases a stream of luxurious properties and extravagant purchases
Tag someone youd bring round for a swim below.
Close to 300 comments have been made below the shot of the glassy outdoor pool, topiary reflected in sharp definition in its azure surface. Whether a date and time for a dip has been set isnt clear, but it being the residence of the prime minister of New Zealand it seems fair to assume it was an empty invitation.
Max Key, the 21-year-old son of the leader of the governing National party, is a fourth-year commerce student and aspiring DJ with a significant audience on social media particularly Instagram, where he is followed by more than 42,000 people.
His public profile is notably at odds with that of other children of world leaders, his Instagram account a stream of far-flung holiday destinations, luxurious properties including the Keys multimillion-dollar Auckland home and extravagant purchases.
Follows may be freely given on social media but part of the appeal of this account is the insight into how the other half lives. Earlier this year Key posted a shot of himself asleep on an Air Force One. Just who caught him is not clear but it seems there are few moments when Max Key is alone, or that he doesnt document for social media.
His self-promotional savvy is not exactly unusual: at 21, hes a member of Generation Z, which came after the reportedly selfie-obsessed Millennials. With a full 90% of young adults aged 18 to 29 using social media, theyre comfortable with the public persona that goes with it, and the cost of maintaining that: basically phones out, at all times even at the breakfast table.
Max isnt the only 21-year-old to celebrate his birthday by going out for brunch with his parents, nor to mark the occasion with a photo to post to Facebook. But very few share their happy-family snap with the 227,000 people who follow the prime minister, John Key.
Max is used to the spotlight (though he did not respond to Guardian Australias email request for an interview). His father has been prime minister since 2008, when Max was 13. One of his first high-profile media appearances was when the prime minister appeared in the background of a grainy cameraphone photo of him planking in 2011, as was the fashion of the time.
He also follows in the path forged by his older sister, Stephie, an artist whose more risqu work as Cherry Lazar occasionally pops up in national news media. But she keeps a relatively low profile, even on social media and certainly doesnt seem to seek out the spotlight shone on her father.
Though an element of scrutiny comes with the territory, Maxs profile has been bolstered entirely of his own volition on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, where his verified professional page (Music Producer from New Zealand) is followed by more than 6,000 people.
His parents often feature in his posts, with Max apparently aware of the interest in the private life of the prime minister and doing, it seems, every bit to capitalise on it. He debuted his single, Forget You, on his first regular slot on Auckland local radio, titled Keyd In.
In turn, John Key shared a link to a news story on the songs success on Spotify on Facebook: Well done Max, great to see you doing so well!
But though his parents appear on his Instagram with apparent willingness, Maxs public documentation of his affluent lifestyle akin to the accounts of the young heirs to the super-rich has caused some headaches for his father.
Keys government is often criticised for prioritising the interests of the rich, and Max has been dubbed the Fresh Prince of Parnell by media, a reference to the affluent Auckland suburb where the Keys live.
In July last year Max posted a four-and-a-half minute video (Summer Paradise) of his lavish holiday in Hawaii, in which the prime minister said he was a reluctant participant. It is no longer available on YouTube but it was viewed more than 200,000 times and scrutinised by media; an academic said it perpetuated the sense that Key was losing touch with ordinary people.
Then, this year, Max publicly posted a meme to his Facebook page about older generations having destroyed the housing market.
Hahaha this honestly cracked me up, he wrote, adding the tears-with-joy emoji but no comment as to how this fit in with his fathers governments perceived inaction over inflated house prices in Auckland.
On Tuesday he posted a studio shot of himself wearing a stars and stripe bandana but no shirt to Instagram, one of a number taken for Remix magazines Innovation Issue.
Even for a personality already as visible as Max, the photoshoot raised eyebrows.
Every time weve had Max Key on the Edge hes gotten his parents permission ... tweeted Guy Williams, a radio host, on Wednesday. MUM DROPPED THE BALL ON THIS ONE!
In his first print interview, Max told Remix that he hoped to avoid getting caught up in the political scheme of things.
But media were quick to seize on the cigarette in his hand in the shot, given that the government had only just announced a number of measures intended to deter smoking the week before.
Max defended his appearance to the New Zealand Herald on Friday, saying he was vehemently against smoking and stressing that the cigarette was unlit. Ive never smoked, Ive never had a cigarette in my mouth, and everyone who knows me knows that.
He compared the shot to a model holding a snake in a photo shoot: That doesnt mean they like snakes, or theyre endorsing snakes, its just part of the photograph.
Elaborating on the use of the prop, he suggested it was intended to communicate danger: Its something that can kill you between your fingers but youve got the power to say no.
On that point, he and his father seemed to be in agreement. Nothing kills you with greater predictability than smoking, Key had said at the announcement of the package designed to lead New Zealand towards a smoke-free future by 2025.
But the prime minister defended his sons pretty cool photoshoot to the Herald on Friday saying, to the best of his knowledge, Max had never smoked.
Hes a young guy, hes a man now, he is capable of doing his own things. And I think its quite cool, the photos look good People wear all sorts of things and do all sorts of things when they are doing modelling shoots.
About 2011, when he was elected to his second term, Key became known as Teflon John for the way nothing damaging ever seemed to stick to him.
On Friday the Herald published two more stories about his sons modelling debut, on top of its interview: Why is Max Key posing with a cigarette? and Five things Max Key could have posed with. Meanwhile, the photo remained at the top of his Instagram feed, racking up favourites.
You could say theres a family resemblance.