Claire Trevett

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

Key gets a US rewrite... to what he really said

The United States is blaming the wind rather than Prime Minister John Key's diction for its mistake-laden transcript of a press conference with American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The State Department will re-do the transcript because of significant errors in the original, including reporting Mr Key as saying "we welcome the opportunity to co-operate with the US in the next conflicts".

The Herald recording of the meeting documents Mr Key saying "we welcome the opportunities to co-operate further. In that context ... ".

A US Embassy official said the mistakes were "a simple transcription error" which would be corrected and re-posted on the State Department website.

"Our audio was bad because the venue was windy."

But the transcript also includes factual slips, such as calling the Pacific Islands Forum the Cook Islands Forum.

While Mrs Clinton's words were transcribed near-perfectly, in places Mr Key's were gibberish.

Many parts were written off as inaudible although media recorders at the press conference picked them up clearly.

News of the incorrect transcript was given widespread cover on New Zealand and Australia media websites.

The Prime Minister's office asked Foreign Affairs officials to have it corrected by the State Department after bloggers Martyn Bradbury and Russell Brown - assuming the transcript was accurate - questioned why the news media had not covered the "conflicts" remark.

That part of the transcript was changed, but the rest was left as it was.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the correction was made quickly "and we appreciate the State Department's prompt action to correct the mistake."

TANGLED WORDS

1. US transcript

New Zealand warmly supports the United States rebalancing towards the Asia Pacific, and we welcome the opportunity to co-operate with the US in the next conflicts.

What Key said

New Zealand warmly supports the United States rebalancing towards the Asia Pacific, and we welcome the opportunities to co-operate further. In that context, we discussed our ongoing efforts to negotiate, alongside a number of other countries, a Trans Pacific Partnership."

2. US transcript

The (inaudible) and the Cook Islands are the forums and executive office is fully committed to supporting inspirations and initiatives of Pacific Island countries. As the outgoing chair of Cook Islands Forum ...

What Key said

The Secretary's presence in the Cook Islands for the Forum is indicative of her personal commitment to supporting the aspirations and initiatives of Pacific Island countries. As the outgoing chair of the Pacific Islands Forum ...

- NZ Herald

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