Audrey Young covers the lighter side:
You’ve got to wonder how much time John Key spends thinking up stunts. Not much I suspect. He just has an eye for a opportunity.
He pulled one last night on Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama just before the two sets of First Couples were about to head into dinner.
Key pulled out a silver fern pin and proceeded to pin onto his host’s suit lapel. You have to admire it.
There was no question like ‘’would you like this?” It was just out with it and here, this is what you are wearing. It went down well.
He might be lucky the Japanese PM’s bodyguards didn’t intervene.
And such was the occasion and glare of the photo press corp cameras it would have been churlish of the new PM to say No. Even better for the snappers, Mrs Hatoyama took over and started pinning it on her husband’s lapel.
Afterwards, the Japan press corp wanted to know what the silver fern was and what it meant.
Key really doesn’t need a media team!
It was a bit like the idea Key had to take a loaf of Vogel’s bread that Key took to Helen Clark in New York – just like the New Zealand TV ads).
The slight drawback on that stunt was that Clark’s people would not allow pictures of the loaf being handed over though there was no objection to him actually telling people he had done so.
I can’t believe they had to negotiate over the bread!
The two leaders last night exchanged rugby jerseys and balls signed by their sides and Key let it slip to reporters back at his hotel that Mrs Hatoyama had tried on the All Blacks jersey at dinner and wanted to meet Dan Carter on the say-so of Mrs Key.
They should have brought a Jockey billboard over!
Audrey also has an article on the more serious side:
Japan has effectively wiped the slate clean on past agreements by the two countries on a free trade agreement and signalled it is serious about achieving results.
After talks in Tokyo last night, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Japan’s new Prime minister Yukio Hatoyama asked officials to go back to the drawing board.
A previous agreement to study a free trade deal stalled under past Tokyo governments, with Japanese officials being blamed.
In a joint statement issued last night, the leaders indicated that such stonewalling had to stop – they said they had “instructed the [officials] group to deepen discussions in a constructive manner so as to take the partnership forward”.
Now this is just a very early step, but a hell of a promising one. Reducing barriers with Japan would be as important as an US FTA.