Fran O’Sullivan has a good piece in the Weekend Herald warning John Key that he should not take his relationship with business for granted.
I spent a bit of time in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar while Minister of Education and Economic Development. A group of countries with tremendous potential for a wide variety of trade.
Some interesting parallels. Bedouin’ hongi – and camel from a hangi tested great.
On the first trip there had been a rocket attack in Riyadh a day before we were due to go in and after a discussion with full Cabinet their decision – really Helen’s decision was that Howard Fancy and I could go in but our education/business delegation stayed in Bahrain. We were expendable and it was important not to mess the Saudis around.
Another trip was a bit of a nightmare sleepwise – from memory eight nights in a bed during 15 nights away. There was a day sidetrip to England because we needed a Minister there for the 90th anniversary of ANZAC day and I was closer than NZ.
But the relationships grew walmer as we put time into it. They understood our position on Iraq and took opportunities to quietly point out the variety of reasons why they prefered NZ to Australia. And Kiwis who trade in the area know that.
There is a bit of repairing to be done. Hope the government realises that.