John Key’s off on his first trip as PM tomorrow – APEC in Peru. When I saw him interviewed about this he seemed to think it would be ‘a good chance to meet other world leaders’ which, as former member of the dip corp, made me groan. You’re not a world leader just because you won an election in some wee country, John, you have to prove your worth on the international stage, as Clark did. More importantly, APEC is not just about meeting people – it’s not a gentleman’s club, it’s not an opportunity to get some names in your autograph book – it’s about serious business.
The world is facing a triple crunch – credit, food, and oil. They’re all inter-related and global. Dealing with them effectively requires global reform of our economies. Part of this is a major re-work of the finance sector. IT is these issues that leaders will be discussing at APEC.
Now, John Key’s the ‘money-man with a heart’, it would be nice to think that he could offer some ideas to contribute to the solution. Perhaps he could take a leaf from the New Economics Foundation’s ‘From the ashes of the crash‘, which lays out 20 first step reforms, many of them concerning the organisation of the finance markets, to get us past the ‘triple crunch’ and create a Green New Deal. As a finance insider, Key could suggest how the industry needs to be reformed to prevent greedy, unaccountable gamblers putting us all at risk in return for a quick buck. You never know, his counterparts might even listen.
If he were to go to APEC and do that, actually make a difference rather than just notch up ‘pull asides’ and ‘one-on-ones’, it would really be something. He could then, deservedly, call himself a world leader.