We were delighted to host Prime Minister John Key and Ambassador Mike Moore along with the Bay Area New Zealand KEA network at our penthouse offices on Maiden Lane in the newly designed Pinnacle Club. Some 150 people were in attendance. Because he has lived in United States, John Key is particularly adept at dealing with global issues and bridging differences. He and Mike Moore are challenging the norms and want to make a difference, which is such a Kiwi trait.
The next day, John Key had a very cordial meeting with Barack Obama in Washington. Here is a portion of the transcript from their joint press conference.
President Obama welcomes PM John Key to the White House (from the Washington Post, 7/22/11)
President Barack Obama: “We are very pleased that the relationship between New Zealand and the United States is growing stronger by the day. Part of that has to do with the great affection that our peoples have towards each other. Part of it has to do with a great deal of common interests and a set of common values.
“So the prime minister and I discussed a range of economic issues, including our great interest in promoting a more effective trade regime among the Asia Pacific nations. And we’re working on this Trans-Pacific Partnership. We hope to have a framework agreement by the time that we go to Honolulu for the APEC meeting.
“We discussed how countries can cooperate around disaster response. Obviously, we are still heartbroken by the loss of life and property that resulted from the earthquakes in Christchurch and are incredibly impressed by the resilience of the people of New Zealand as they rebuild from that tragedy. But both of us, having seen what happened in Japan, as well, understand that when these kind of natural disasters strike, it’s important for us to be able to pool our resources to help each other.”
Prime Minister John Key: “We’ve had a very good and tremendous reception in the last couple of days. I want to thank you for that personally. We’re excited about the opportunities of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’re excited about the chance to put together a regional trade deal, which includes in the United States and which can expand over time, beyond the nine countries of TPP. And I think it can deliver strengthened terms of economic growth, jobs, and higher incomes, and better opportunities.
“I just wanted to thank the United States for its response when it came to the Christchurch earthquake. Your urban search and rescue team were fabulous in New Zealand and your call immediately after the earthquake and the tremendous outpouring of support from the people of America. So thank you very much, indeed.”