It sounded like something out of the Shane Jones diplomatic political manual, only this time it involved the Aussies.

Alexander Downer was a bit like Jones, a loquacious, rather loose-lipped politician when he was Australia's Foreign Minister for more than a decade up until 2007, and then after a few years in the wilderness slipping into the plum job of being the country's top diplomat in London.

It was from there the Aussies, it turns out, became donkey deep in the so-called Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election in the United States.


Downer was having, by his own admission, a heavy drinking session with a Donald Trump campaign aide who told him Russia had obtained some damaging oil about Hillary Clinton from her emails. The information was handed on to the Americans and Trump ordered the Mueller investigation which, when he didn't like the findings of, decided to have it discredited.

Alexander Dowenr in New Zealand in 2007. Photo / NZPA
Alexander Dowenr in New Zealand in 2007. Photo / NZPA

Handing the good oil on is what you do, the Aussies tell us, especially when you are a member of the Five Eyes spy network, which New Zealand also is. They tell us Australia's on a team where the United States is the captain of it.

And it's with that sort of attitude the Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison took a phone call from The Don, who's as loose-lipped as Jones. He wanted help to discredit Mueller and for Scomo it was a no-brainer, backed up by a statement from his government saying they're always ready to assist and cooperate to shed further light on matters under investigation.

It surely explains why the red carpet was rolled out right up to the front door of the White House for a state dinner for the Ocker shocker just over a week ago.

Contrast that to the pull-aside on the fringes of the United Nations Jacinda Ardern got with The Don in the Big Apple last week. Imagine if she got a call from Trump asking her to become involved in something like the Australians have now walked into. She'd use her well-rehearsed line that we have an independent foreign policy and we don't involve ourselves in the domestic affairs of another country.

Ardern couldn't even bring herself to say on Newstalk ZB what her personal view of Trump was, whether she found him likeable. She said she had no personal issues in her relationship with him. She said the likeable question isn't relevant because it doesn't matter what her personal opinion of world leaders is, it's not her job to go around dispensing per personal view of individuals, it's her job, she says, to represent New Zealand's interests.

Yeah well she was happy enough to give her view of the new Danish Prime Minister, indicating she was her favourite and also mentioned others.

But Trump is another kettle of fish and given what he's got Scomo into, perhaps Ardern's approach is the right one.


It's a pity she can't apply some of the discipline she applies to herself to Shane 'Utu' Jones.