I’ve never met the Prime Minister of any other country, but somehow I didn’t think it would be quite like this.
I knew that John Key was coming to Devonport this morning because the police were asking people to move their cars to provide space for him to park. One officer told me that the Prime Minister was coming. I wondered if she was supposed to tell people that.
But maybe it was public information that he would be at the Devonport RSA (Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association) this afternoon. I was at Henri Cafe, my favorite spot to use WiFi in Auckland. Parking spaces were reserved right in front of Henri Cafe. It was certainly no secret.
A lone “Ban 1080” protester arrived in time to find a spot right in front of the RSA. She is a nice, very happy lady. I noticed an obvious DPS (Diplomatic Protection Service) agent at about the same time.
I had plenty of time to decide that I should get my camera, and see if I was actually allowed to get anywhere near him. I was starting to realize that I actually might not get tackled, and a knee in my back, for trying.
Two cars pulled up and parked. A bearded DPS agent got out of the second car and stood next to the Prime Minister’s door. The driver of first his car got out and opened the door for Mr. Key.
There were not many people around. Someone strolled past, but seemed to take no notice, or to get much from the authorities. I was standing outside the cafe with the lovely barista. Once he emerged from the car there was no one between us. It was somehow the natural thing to do for New Zealand Prime Minster John Key to walk over and shake my hand.
He talked a bit with the barista, and posed for a picture with her, and she offered him a coffee. One of his staff followed her in to get it for him.
The PM talked with a few people on his way to the RSA, while the lone 1080 protester shouted “shame on you!” It was a small crowd.
A little while later I decided to go into the RSA and see what was happening. There was no one at the door. The one DPS agent stayed close to Mr. Key as people walked up and talked to him. The meeting had something to do with senior citizens.
It was all pretty low key.