ON AIR: The Weekend Collective

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The Soap Box: No end to MPs' self sacrifice

Barr Soper,
Publish Date
Monday, 5 November 2018, 6:02AM
Trevor mallard and Gerry Brownlee attended the All Blacks match in Tokyo. Photo / Tadashi Miyamoto / AFLO
Trevor mallard and Gerry Brownlee attended the All Blacks match in Tokyo. Photo / Tadashi Miyamoto / AFLO

It must have been like a speed dating trip and today you'd have to feel sorry for the jet lag those who took part in it are suffering.

Our self-effacing Speaker, putting the interests of the country ahead of his own, gave up his weekend to indulge in what he says is sports diplomacy, strengthening the New Zealand/Japan relationship.

Trevor Mallard even went to the extent of burying his differences with his arch Nemesis, National's Gerry Brownlee, the man he's disciplined more times than he's had hot dinners, to engage with the Japanese on behalf of our nation.

Their two-day jam-packed trip to Japan must have been intense given they're back in town ready for work tomorrow. Announcing it Mallard told us in the current uncertain international climate it's crucial that New Zealand invests in strengthening our relationships with other robust parliamentary democracies who will champion our values globally.

They met with the Japanese Speaker, engaged with Japanese political, business and sporting leaders. Along with all of that, they found the time to meet with students, lecturers and tertiary administrators to, we're told, support enhanced academic links between our two countries.

And to top it off they gave up their Saturday night in Tokyo to attend the All Black's test match in the city. There was no end to their self-sacrifice.

Of course, the justification is a load of baloney. Why the rugby-loving Mallard couldn't simply come out and say they were going to Japan to watch the rugger, which is course is exactly why they were there, goodness only knows. It's likely a good proportion of the people he announced they were meeting were also at the match, given the limited time they had on the ground, or more correctly at the ground.

There's nothing wrong with a political presence at the match, given just last week the ridiculously named, thanks to Canada's Justin Trudeau, Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership will become a reality before the end of the year. For the first time, it gives New Zealand a formal trade deal with Japan, the world's third-largest economy.

And of course, Japan's hosting the Rugby World Cup next year that hopefully, this country will play a leading role in.

But in the interests of sports diplomacy, who knows, they could be off to London as Parliament goes into recess on Thursday to talk about Brexit and they could stay on for the following weekend in Ireland to talk the trade deal we're negotiating with the European Union. But then they'd have to suffer another two All Black test matches while they're there.

As you set off your fireworks tonight for Guy Fawkes, spare a thought for this jet-lagged pair, they'll be needing their sleep.

ON AIR: The Weekend Collective

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