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

Claire Trevett: Key courts Chile with tipple tale

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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key meets with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key meets with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago. Photo / Supplied

Prime Minister John Key went a tad off-script in a speech in Santiago yesterday, and delivered New Zealand's economic history via a parable of wine.

Persuading the business audience about the virtues of free trade, he talked about a topic close to Chile's heart.

The parable began with his experiences of wine before the Rogernomics reforms. "Our wine was awful. Absolutely awful. You wouldn't have wanted to drink it any time of day or night, no matter how bad the fight with the husband or wife was," he said. "Why was it awful? Because you couldn't import decent wine. So our winemakers made a terrible wine and that was all we had."

Relief came with the removal of subsidies in the 1980s.

Having depicted New Zealand as the Land of the Long White Wine, he left to host a lunch at the New Zealand Ambassador's residence in Santiago.

Looking around the lush grounds, he quipped that he hoped Treasury didn't see any photos of it.

"It will be gone by lunchtime, as a former politician once said."

- NZ Herald

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

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor and joined the Press Gallery in 2007. She began with the Herald in 2003 as the Northland reporter before moving to Auckland where her rounds included education and media. A graduate of AUT's post-graduate diploma in journalism, Claire began her journalism career in 2002 at the Northern Advocate in Whangarei. Claire has conjoint Bachelor of Law/ Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Canterbury.

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