Two slippery customers

PR is the mask on the monkey that convinces you he’s human or at least has evolved that way. Good PR keeps a politician in business whereas bad PR will crucify them. But, sometimes the best option is to say absolutely nothing and keep everyone speculating.

This is exactly what Barack Obama and John Key have achieved for Obama’s first visit to New Zealand and their meetings over the next few days, including a dinner by invitation only to celebs, business leaders and local government.

John Key and Barack Obama enjoy a round of golf in Hawaii

“Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith said he almost missed his invitation – a nondescript email from Local Government New Zealand that was almost lost amongst the 150 other emails he receives every day. “It sort of came out of the blue,” Smith said. “I was sort of going ‘wow, do I go to this or not?’, yes!”

“One person who definitely did get an invitation and said yes was celebrated New Zealand actor Sam Neill, who took to Twitter on Tuesday to say he was “honoured to be in conversation with President Barack Obama for an hour on stage this week in Auckland”, adding that he was a “tad overexcited.”

“Invited participants have been told it will be a dinner followed by a facilitated question and answer session.

Technology and agri-tech companies from around New Zealand are also in the list of attendees including Levno, a company which creates farm monitoring technology, and Biolumic, a company that increases crop resistance to disease through the use of ultra-violet light.

The banquet will happen in the cavernous Waiheke Room, capable of seating more than 1000 people. “

So, what are these slippery ex-leaders all about? You don’t have to sniff too far to find one of the two age-old reasons for doing anything, and this time it’s money. Trading on the good PR they both generated in spades during their respective tenures they are now capitalising. Obama arrived by private plane and the dozen or so security people paid to watch his back don’t come cheaply. Neither does his speaking fee estimated at $550k.

John Key might not be paying for PR these days but he’s up for dishing plenty of his own on breakfast TV calling Obama “one of the most influential people on the planet today.” Huh?

Covering off the PR for Obama to come back and replenish the coffers and enjoy another round of golf, they set up a meeting with the PM and, to show they’re not all bad, this one’s for free!

– Stuff

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The subject evoked in the collage is the debating of political issues with friends in a public place

Pablo Picasso
Glass and bottle of Suze (after 18 November 1912)
pasted paper, gouache and charcoal

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