Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Key dons Colombian hat for silly photo

John Key wearing a traditional Colombian hat. Photo / Supplied
John Key wearing a traditional Colombian hat. Photo / Supplied

After two long days without a single silly photo on his Latin American trade tour, Prime Minister John Key has broken the drought by donning a vueltiao.

Mr Key was presented with the traditional Colombian hat by a young Colombian rugby rep.

Standing beside the country's President Juan Manuel Santos, Mr Key said: "The New Zealand media will love this. Can't wait to watch this back home."

He donned the hat and stuck his arms out like a tap dancer ending his routine.

A delighted Mr Santos beamed and clapped, before escorting Mr Key to the state lunch in his honour, hat removed and handed to an adviser.

It was the first time Mr Key had met the Colombian President. He and his wife were welcomed to the El Narino Palace in Bogota by lines of the Presidential Guard along a red carpet.

Relations between the two countries are at a fledgling level and in their meeting the leaders agreed to start work on assessing a potential economic partnership - effectively the first step toward a future free trade agreement.

Mr Key said Colombia was the only one of the four Pacific Alliance countries in Latin America that New Zealand had not agreed a path for open trade and investment. The other countries are Chile, Peru and Mexico.

Mr Santos said he believed Colombia could benefit from New Zealand's expertise in agriculture to develop its farming industry.

Mr Santos also pledged to support New Zealand's bid for the Security Council seat in 2015 while Mr Key said New Zealand supported Colombia's entry into the OECD. Although there is a moratorium on membership of APEC, he said he was certain Colombia would one day be accepted into that forum as well.

- NZ Herald

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