Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for May 22, today coming to you from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org
In Papua New Guinea:
It was the closest thing Chris Hipkins will ever get to the royal treatment. A stop at the Gordon’s Market in Port Moresby, a project funded by New Zealand, saw hundreds if not thousands of locals turn out to catch a glimpse of the prime minister. It’s something he probably won’t see during the election campaign back home.
Escorted into the market by security, cheers and chants erupted. A local we spoke to said it was his “privilege” to see Hipkins and expressed his gratitude for the market giving him a job. “I am excited to see the prime minister of New Zealand. I feel proud. Thank you for coming to the market,” he said.
Hipkins described the visit and the market as a “real honour” for New Zealand and said the country would continue to be a “good friend to Papua New Guinea”.
It could have been a concert mosh pit as Hipkins was taken inside the market to meet with vendors and purchase himself some local produce (bananas). It’s understood Hipkins is the only world leader in Port Moresby choosing to visit any local communities such as the Gordon’s Market, something one individual we spoke to said was an amazing thing to witness and what other politicians should be doing.
From here, there will be a quite a mood shift as Hipkins meets with business leaders before his face-to-face time with US secretary of state Antony Blinken.