John Key Barack Obama United Nations
John Key Barack Obama United Nations

PoliticsSeptember 29, 2015

Politics: Photochop – John Key Catches Up Really Quickly with Barack Obama at the UN

John Key Barack Obama United Nations
John Key Barack Obama United Nations

Unpicking the meaning in a picture of the prime minister standing in reasonably close proximity with Potus.

The New Zealand prime minister, John Key, is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, or the “UNGA games” as the event is probably not known.

He had hoped to catch a moment with the US president, Barack Obama, to discuss getting the Trans-Pacific Partnership over the line and exchange golfing anecdotes.

And here is a picture of that quick catch-up, possibly capturing the occasion in its entirety, as tweeted earlier today.

But what does it mean?

Seven crucial questions.


1. Did Barack Obama know that he was catching up with his ol’ NooZeelan buddy? Or was the experience for him something more like walking down a corridor at the United Nations with a whole bunch of people, mostly men in suits, walking around him as usual?

2. Is the Secret Service dude to Obama’s left also a bit perplexed as to the identity of the chap on the other presidential flank? Or is that not a security dude but actually, I don’t know, the president of Slovenia or something?

3. Does it remind you of one of those zippy walky-talky scenes from West Wing? No? Not even if you imagine it with Aaron Sorkin style dialogue*?


4. Why is our PM wearing a name tag when Obama is not? Doesn’t seem all that fair. The principles of the United Nations surely require that either every national leader wears a name tag or no national leader wears a name tag.

Did Mr Key bring his own, or does Obama not need one, or was Obama just being cool and stuck it in his pocket, and has John Key added any jokes to his name-tag to break the ice?

5. Why the paisley tie? Is it a sort of marine-style tribute to the very impressive announcement earlier of an ocean sanctuary for the Kermadecs?

6. Who’s looking at whom? Using experimental technologies in the Spinoff PhotochopLab SightLine™, we have assessed the focus of vision among Obama and his entourage.


7. Is that a little itty-bitty Stars and Stripes on Obama’s lapel, and if so where is Mr Key’s? Shouldn’t his lapel zone look exactly like this?


* Though the likeness is incredible, this is not in fact authentic Sorkin dialogue.

Keep going!