Nothing to see here?
Jacinda Ardern finally gets to 'officially' meet Donald Trump tomorrow. 'Officially' means that this time, The Don has been briefed in advance that Cindy isn't, in fact, the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister. However, we're not going to be allowed to know anything about what is discussed.
"No media presence as PM talks trade with Trump", according to Radio New Zealand.
Why not, I find myself asking?
The President's daily schedule is posted here https://factba.se/topic/calendar , where it is listed as a 40-minute 'Pull aside' (read: half an hour with shuffle time built in), and it's his only session of the day that is closed to the Press.
Trump also has meetings with the Presidents of Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, Egypt, and South Korea on Monday, to all of which the Fourth Estate are cordially invited.
Jacinda claims she doesn't know why reporters are being excluded from her little chin-wag with the Pres, and that the call wasn't initiated by New Zealand. She had me at "doesn't know", because that pretty much sums her up, but it's a concern in itself; either she really doesn't know, which indicates that the POTUS doesn't regard her as worthy of being told, or she does, and this is yet another lie.
Perhaps the President wants to ask the Prime Minister why she chose to protect a rapist within her own office, rather than stand up for the rights of a young woman who was being abused.
No, probably not. I very much doubt that the President of the United States is remotely concerned with anything as trivial as the New Zealand Labour Party prioritising race-based political patronage over the molestation of female staffers. He has other things with which to occupy his mind, such as drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities, and whether that might lead to World War Three, and so forth.
But something bothers me about this. I mean Trump has had two media-free 'expanded bilateral meetings' with the Australian PM and his delegation in recent days; but the relationship between Australia and the US is a different beast to that enjoyed by New Zealand.
Australia is an ally of the US, and a very close one. Australia has an economy that is significant in world terms. Australia is serious about defence, and about regional security, and about being able to provide the West with things like rare earth elements, if the Chinese decide to get all huffy about that, as well as holding about half the world's recoverable uranium deposits.
So it follows that things that might be discussed between the Leaders of Australia and the United States could be important and sensitive. It's hard to imagine the same degree of caution needing to be applied to anything that might crop up in conversation with the Aussies' innocent, simple, barely relevant, little country cousin.
If this was Five Eyes stuff, it would be being done by way of secure communications between Intelligence Agencies.
This leads me to suspect that Donald Trump's half-hour 'pull-aside' with Jacinda Ardern will involve Cindy being told, and I mean told, a few home truths that a) she won't like, and b) that it has had to come to this, because New Zealand's Government just won't bloody listen to reason or common sense.
I honestly do believe that New Zealand is on the brink of being chucked out of the Five Eyes arrangement, and handed off to the Chinese as a sop, because we have become more of a liability than an asset, through years - decades, actually - of petulance, narcissism, and the willfully naive rejection of reality, in matters military, monetary, and mineral.
I don't think this 'trade talk meeting' is closed to the media because it concerns anything of such globally monumental importance as NZ steel and aluminium tariffs. I do think it's a pull-aside, and that's certainly how Uncle Sam views it, in which Jacinda will be told, in no uncertain terms, that this is the last chance for New Zealand to pull its head in, grow up, and get with the programme.