Barack Obama and John Key won their general elections in the same November week. While our new leader got his keys to the prime minister's washroom two months ago, Obama doesn't get his set until this Tuesday (our Wednesday).
But that hasn't stopped Obama being on the job from day one, working on plans to save his country's economy.
On this side of the world his counterpart lives in a parallel universe. John Key spent the first couple of weeks of his tenure as a minor player at overseas forums of dubious merit, and then topped that off by lying on a Hawaiian beach for a few weeks.
When challenged why Key and his colleagues seem to be taking an extensive holiday break, a senior Government spokesperson huffily replied that unless a bank was collapsing there wasn't much else to do if they went back to work.
But before New Zealanders could absorb this gem, Key jumped on a plane and got back pronto to assure us that indeed there was a crisis that needed his attention after all.
Our suntanned leader assured us what the country needed was an urgent national summit. He was calling senior sector representatives from Government, business and trade unions to meet the brightest financial minds and come up with a plan to "move New Zealand forward" and deliver a "full employment, high wage, high skill economy".
Helen Clark once called a summit to focus on the "Knowledge Economy". Remember that? Hmmm, can't think of anything that actually eventuated from it.
But the closest to Key's brainwave was the Economic Summit held by David Lange when he came to power in 1984. Its lauded goal was to create an economy that would deliver full employment and lift New Zealand incomes.
The same senior players and sectors that Key is inviting were there.
Frankly, the 1984 summit was just a public relations stunt to give cover to a coup d'etat carried out by the right-wing ideologues within the Labour Party to inflict their neo-liberal nuttiness on to an unsuspecting public.
As a consequence, unemployment skyrocketed; the economy tanked. It opened up an era of greed and grossness unmatched anywhere else in the world. We still haven't recovered.
For example, regressive taxes such as GST were introduced at the same time as the top tax rate was halved. Wealth taxes, such as death duties and capital gains tax, were abolished. To pay for the shortfall, user pays became the norm for basic services such as education and health service.
Public assets were stripped and sold off to robber barons who promptly put up prices so their captive customers could reimburse them for their ill-gotten purchase.
And just to rub salt into our wounds they scrapped trade union wage awards so workers' incomes plummeted. Remember the days where all workers got wage increases every year, as well as penal pay for overtime and weekends? Ah, those were the days.
The result of this so-called economic transformation arising out of this first summit was that 10 per cent of our entire country's income was directly transferred from those who earned their living through wages or salaries to those who owned the means of capital.
What we now have is one of the biggest wealth gaps between our rich and poor of almost any Western country. But it was all a success, according to one Cabinet minister at the time, because we now had cafes where you could buy a flat white.
There is a consensus by our political parties (with the possible exception of the Greens) that the economic ideology imposed then, and kept in place by successive National and Labour administrations, works.
Conventional wisdom has us believing that there is something called the free market that is fair and actually works; that low taxes on the rich gives them the ability to invest in wealth creation that makes us all better off; that having our social services and community utilities owned and controlled by corporations is efficient and keeps prices down; and that if we subsidise business and slash business taxes then all will be well.
Of course, it's nothing of the sort. The world is having a capitalist crisis where obscene profiteering by the financial elite has brought the world to the brink of collapse. But it won't be the rich who will pay the price. The same economic wizards attending this jobs summit, who just last year were praising the wonder of free market capitalism, will be advocating Government intervention.
Well, not exactly Government intervention - instead they'd like Key to turn up with the taxpayers' chequebook. It won't be called tax welfare through; their proposals will be described as an "economic stimulus package" and "private-public partnerships" etc.
Does anyone think that the solutions proposed by the business community (after they ask for Government cash) will offer anything except an insistence that business taxes be cut; wages not be increased; workers' legal rights repealed; and cheaper labour be imported? This summit is solely about safeguarding private profits.