Prime Minister John Key had a bumpy landing into a tropical storm last night - ahead of talks with Brazil's formidable president which may also not run smoothly.
While the relationship with Latin America's largest nation is "warm," Key acknowledged yesterday there would be a few points of difference in his bilateral meeting today with Dilma Rousseff.
He will lobby for a non-permanent place on the UN Security Council in 2015/16 and for his trade minister Tim Groser to score a top job at the World Trade Organisation.
But Brazil is the only country of the four he visits on a ten day mission which has not expressed support for New Zealand.
And Brazil has its own rival for the director-general post, Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo. Pascal Lamy steps down at the end of August.
Key said: "They [Brazil] really don't indicate publicly whether they will or they won't [suppot the security council bid] because they have a view that want to become a permanent member of the security council.
''But, still, we'll put in a plug."
New Zealand would prefer longer rotations on the council, rather than more permanent members.
It will be Key's first chance to touch base with Rouseff , the leader of the continents's largest population, of around 200 million people. The left-leaning leader was elected in October 2011, Brazil's first female president. She is extremely popular, but has a reputation for being brusque.
The government wants to grow investment opportunities in Brazil. Currently, total two way trade is around $193 million, with mostly chemicals and albuminoids.
"I don't know the President. It is a good opportunity to meet her and build the relationship,'' Key said.
"We do quite bit of business there, but again there is a lot of potential.
''Brazil is huge, it is going to be the home of the Olympic games in 2016, the Football World Cup...it's a massive opportunity...generally they are seen as the big guy in the region."
Growth has slowed in the last two years, and the nation is currently struggling with high inflation. "It will be interesting to see what they think in terms of getting on top of that," he said.
It is likely the pair will talk through the decision of Petrobras, the state-owned oil giant, to pull out of New Zealand in December. Rousseff headed the board of Petrobras before her election.
"My understanding of why they pulled back was simply because domestically there had been some issues...but we won't push it too hard," Key said.
The sprawling city is the largest in the southern hemisphere with around 20 million people.
From the air, its notorious traffic problems were evident, threading for kilometres through the mass of skyscrapers. Tailbacks in the city can stretch as far as 180km.
However, Key was whisked to his hotel in a VIP motorcade. This morning he will visit Sao Paulo's tallest building, the Banespa tower, meet with the Brazilian Rugby Confederation and watch the Crusaders training U19 players.
Tomorrow he will meet with former president Lula da Silva, and then fly north to capital Brasilia for the bilateral with Rousseff.
- © Fairfax NZ News