Sunday, March 18, 2007

You Can't Make This Shit Up.

Here are a few behind the scenes observations from last Friday's meeting of the Pacific Forum in Vanuatu.

The RNZAF flight crew are boody fantastic, and so is their 757 plane. A commercial version sits over 220 but the Airforce ripped 60 seats out meaning those on board have leg room!! Bliss

Internet access in Vanuatu is marginal at the best of times, and horrendously expensive. Perhaps the Forum Secretariat could have shared their connection. Or at least set up some facilities for the media so they could cover the event in a vaguely proficient way. There was no media centre whatsoever.

Flight timing was bizarre. Those who arrived with the NZ delegation were told they had to be enroute to the airport by 3.30 pm at the latest. That just happened to be half an hour before the scheduled press conference. The reason for this? Well there is only one set of steps at Port Vila big enough to reach the 757's doors and they just happened to be owned by Air Caledonia who had a flight coming in around 5pm. Come hell or high water they were having their steps back so the Kiwis had to be on their plane and out of the way ASAP.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is a bit of a media whore. Put a microphone in front of him and he just won't shut up.

NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters is the exact opposite. He was not inclined to talk at all. And even less so after TV crews defied orders and got off the plane first to get shots of the dignitaries getting off the plane (they were banned from his first stand up). Mind you Winston's mood probably was helped by his dicky knee. It does look to be seriously painful and he's not the kind of guy to deal well with something that affects his personal dignity.

A brickbat to the official who decreed that alcohol would be reserved for the politicians on the trip back leaving the rest of the plane dry.

A huge bouquet to Cabinet Minister Winnie Laban who decreed the drinks cart was open to all.

Oh and for those of you who are curious as to the outcome of the meeting I suggest you read this. In a nutshell (if you'll excuse the anti-smacking Bill analogy) Fiji's been given a timeout on a naughty mat and been told to think about what it did.

I'm sure Frank Bainimarama is shitting himself - Not.

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