Help the man out! I saw this on TV last night - it was awful. He already looks dorky enough as it is floating around with that shit-eating grin on his face like he just won fucking lotto... which I suppose he did. So maybe we should forgive him. But somebody help the man. He had this stupid folder on how to not offend people in Spanish (or whatever it was) on the red carpet. He didn't know what to do with it, he was trying to tuck it under his arm at one point. FFS, it's the job of his handlers to take that off him and tell him what to do - not leave him hanging, like a dolt.
No other leader meeting their Peruvian host had a silly folder obstructing them. He looked more like a lost junior assistant to the PM rather than the PM himself. Then again Bolger had that problem when Dick Griffin was around and foreigners would mistake him for the PM. Thank god he seemed to have struck a sobering pose on the stage, even if he was a facsimile of the other greying middle-aged Anglosphere technocrats.He needs a lot of help and he's not getting it. Helen Clark - and indeed every other leader - would not make that sort of mistake, but Key is still learning. He still isn't Prime Ministerial and it shows.
Key would need a near-fatal lobotomy however to be the biggest idiot in the room.
APEC Mid-level Ministers of the world: The Minister for Rugby and the Trade Minister, top left.
Inspiring, aren't they. Modeling for the Easter Island statues.
John Key's big event today was delivering his speech to the Apec CEO summit this morning.
His delivery was okay. It is not his strong suit. He was better answering questions. George Yeo, Singapore's Foreign Minister, spoke about how the crisis might yet lead to new divisions in society, and economist David Hale explained why East Asia had to come to the rescue of the United States.
"Yes but what say it doesn't work?" asked one Chinese businessman to which there could be no answer.
John Key's people kindly sent out his speech under embargo last night because he was delivering it at about the time the presses on the Herald were grinding to a halt and we were able to get in some coverage for Weekend Herald readers.
John Key took the orthodox approach to the financial crisis, blaming some of the reckless risk that had been taken in recent years, the failure to identify the risk because of lack of transparency.
The CEO summit began at 9am and so media who wish to cover it were required to assemble three hours beforehand at a point not 500m from the venue in Defence HQ, central Lima, to wait in a waiting room for an hour, forbidden to walk 20 metres to the coffee urn, then to catch a bus 400 metres up the road, to join a queue for another hour, to pass through a security machine, to eventually find a seat in the auditorium and then have to beg for access for simultaneous translation in order to understand what Mr Garcia is talking about.
At least it was only photographers and camera operators who had to wear netball bibs.
Imagine the apoplexy of officials when John Key agreed to talk to reporters at the morning tea break among the business delegates. All the Kiwis were there, mingling together, gutter press, business leaders, head of the Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet, Foreign Minister, Prime Minister. Situation normal.
I’m not saying Key is that bad - just that it’s clear he still has a lot to learn. There’s all the little things that just shouldn’t matter but they do - particularly on the telly. He needs to work out how to wave to the cameras, for example. Larger than life Peruvian President Alan Garcia knows how to do it - the guy is treated like a rock star here.
An abrupt, manly shake of the hand is how to do it (unless you’re the Queen) but when Key tried it yesterday it looked more like an effeminate waggle. I’m not saying I’d be any better, mind. It’s just one of those things you have to practise, I guess.
He also needs to learn not to gush over meeting important people. You should have seen his grin after meeting President Bush. Now I’ve met Bush too, and I have to say he’s just not that impressive. Key is still acting a little like a boy who’s suddenly woken up to find all his dreams have come true.
The telly boys are also getting frustrated at the fact that whenever Key enters a room he tends to walk straight over to us to say Gidday, which of course is great and he’s a friendly and polite man, but they want shots of him gliding past looking prime ministerial. They don’t want him chatting to us. Again, just one of those things you have to learn.
It’s a bit of a learning curve for everyone, though, at the moment. Key’s ministers Tim Groser and Murray McCully also can’t contain their glee at being here. Groser, a former trade diplomat, is of course a pig in muck here. But McCully is also very much enjoying being an Honourable again. There’s a better standard of service for a start.
I’m wondering how well NZ Inc is gelling at the moment, though. It can’t be easy for the boffins from MFAT and the DPMC to go from nine years of serving Clark and Co to suddenly having a new PM and set of ministers to deal with. People like Maarten Wevers and Tony Lynch from the PM’s office, for example, who’ve spent a chunk of their working lives dealing with Clark are now dealing with Key.
It must be like training up a new recruit, although of course they’d never say so.
And in other journalism-government interaction on the domestic scene, NBR reporting: