NZ left off map at nuke summit

ANDREA VANCE IN THE HAGUE
Last updated 08:24 26/03/2014
UNSEEN: Tasmania rated a place, but New Zealand was nowhere to be seen on the leaders' photocall backdrop.
ANDREA VANCE

UNSEEN: Tasmania rated a place, but New Zealand was nowhere to be seen on the leaders' photocall backdrop.

TRADE UPDATE: John Key snatched a five-minute debrief with Obama on progress towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
ANDREA VANCE
TRADE UPDATE: John Key snatched a five-minute debrief with US president Barack Obama on progress towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

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He's fond of saying that New Zealand punches above its weight on the international stage.

But as John Key posed for an official photo with other foreign leaders there was a glaring omission - his country was missing from the world map above him.

Key has spent the last two days mingling with the political and economic elite at the Nuclear Security Summit, pushing New Zealand's case for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2015-16 and various trade interests.

In 2012 he was feted by US President Barack Obama at the second Nuclear Summit in Seoul, and was invited to the first event in Washington because of New Zealand's nuclear-free policy.

This time, Dutch officials had included Tasmania on the enormous purple backdrop - but overlooked New Zealand. Key hadn't noticed, but shrugged off the gaffe and used it to push his call to change the national flag.

"That's just because we need a new flag and they will be able to identify exactly where we are," he said.

"I didn't see it ... well, they wronged us but I'm sure it will be all right."

The blunder was further compounded when a Dutch official barged into his press conference this afternoon. He was mid-flow when the woman knocked loudly then opened the door, ordering everyone out.

When the occupants didn't immediately comply, she returned, prematurely ending the briefing to make way for a press conference by the Italian foreign minister.

On the sidelines, Key snatched a five-minute debrief with Obama on progress towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

"It was a good meeting ... we are obviously at a critical phase now as we try and cement the deal," Key said.

"The Obama Administration remains very committed to completing TPP."

The two-day summit wound up early this morning (NZ time).

Leaders were asked to play a nuclear war game, where they took turns to see how they would cope with a dirty-bomb attack in the financial heart of an unnamed Western city.

New Zealand is among 35 countries that have now pledged to turn international guidelines on nuclear security into national laws. Radiation-safety legislation must be passed before an international treaty on nuclear terrorism can be ratified. A $300,000 contribution to nuclear security in Africa and Latin America was also pledged.

Key said the summit, established by Obama in 2010, had come a long way.

"Essentially, we have reduced the risk that nuclear materials could fall into the hands of terrorist groups," he said.

In a speech - known as an "intervention" - Key suggested better outreach on fissile security.

"There are 53 countries represented here, but 140-odd countries that may want to participate," he said.

"I don't think any country is a benign strategic environment. We live in a complex world where the threat of terrorism is real ... the reality could be catastrophic."

The next formal leaders' summit will be held in Chicago in 2016.

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