Audrey Young 's Opinion

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young: PM's chance on world stage as 'honest broker'

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New Zealand is officially the administrator of the TPP. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand is officially the administrator of the TPP. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand really likes being characterised as the firm but fair "honest broker" in matters of world affairs.

It's the campaign theme of New Zealand's bid to win a seat on the Security Council.

It was the backbone of Prime Minister John Key's blunt speech to the United Nations 10 days ago.

Straight talking on behalf of small countries about how the Security Council had become hostage to the interests of the most powerful.

Rarely does New Zealand get a chance to play the honest broker so publicly as it will tomorrow.

On the tropical island of Bali in Indonesia, John Key will replace US President Barack Obama as chair of the important meeting of countries negotiating the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade and investment agreement.

It won't be a public meeting. But you can bet Mr Key or his people will be delighted to give as many details as they are able.

Ostensibly Mr Key got the role because New Zealand is officially the administrator of the TPP. But Mr Key is suited to the role for other reasons.

A year ago in Cambodia, Mr Obama and Mr Key talked tactics before the last meeting of TPP leaders. Key later joked he had been riding shotgun for Obama.

On the issue of trade, the New Zealand Government's objectives are the same as the US Government: a comprehensive, high-quality deal as soon as possible.

Key is also known personally to all but two - Japan and Peru - of the other 10 leaders that are to attend. The challenge for Key will be not to be too matey, too casual, as Kiwis are wont to be, but to bring as much seriousness and gravity to the table as he can muster.

- NZ Herald

Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor, a job she has held since 2003. She is responsible for the Herald’s Press Gallery team. She first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1988 as a sub-editor after the closure of its tabloid rival, the Auckland Sun. She switched to reporting in 1991 as social welfare and housing reporter. She joined the Herald’s Press Gallery office in 1994. She has previously worked as a journalism tutor at Manukau Technical Institute, as member of the Newspapers in Education unit at Wellington Newspapers and as a teacher in Wellington. She was a union nominee on the Press Council for six years.

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