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New Zealand charity StepUp gains as PM steps down

By Swati Pandey

By Swati Pandey

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key may have shocked an entire nation with his abrupt decision to step down, but for one small North Island community, the move was timed to perfection.

On Monday, the day Key announced his departure to spend more time with his family, charity group StepUp Taranaki released the world's largest choreographed dance video, featuring a guest appearance by Key.

In one of his last acts before leaving, Key tweeted the video from his official account, boosting interest in the elaborate dance film, said Cathy Carpenter, the group's publicist.

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"He seemed to time his resignation so well to give us four to five hours when we were going viral, with thousands and thousands of hits," she added.

"We would love to think that he was kind enough to plan his resignation around our launch. It looks like he did do it that way and it's wonderful. We can't thank him enough."

Key gives a thumbs-up in his brief role as a pilot in the video. "Great to be involved in the local @Stepup_Taranaki initiative," he wrote on Twitter.

Key's previous show business forays include a 2009 spot on CBS's Late Show hosted by David Letterman, with a top 10 list of reasons to visit New Zealand, besides interviewing Peter Jackson, director of the "The Lord of the Rings", in 2011.

The video, in which the entire Taranaki region is seen dancing to the iconic New Zealand song Poi E, was filmed over 1-1/2 years to help boost tourism and investment.

Oil and gas is the biggest industry in Taranaki, on the west coast of the North Island, and the region has suffered massive job losses after oil prices slumped from record highs.

The video has been viewed 750,000 times and is trending No.2 on YouTube.

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Link to video (http://bit.ly/2gAbUxL)

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(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

 
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