Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's first visit to
Queenstown was successful, both for political deals and
impressing the locals.
Ms Gillard arrived in a Royal Australian Air Force jet, to be
met by about 20 media personnel at the runway, where they
were greeted with a smile and a wave from afar.
At the Hilton Hotel, Ms Gillard gave a statement, which
included her take on the Australian professional sports
I think all sports fans, including me, find this pretty
It is believed both Mr Key and Ms Gillard arrived at the
Millbrook Resort near Arrowtown that night and ate at the
On Saturday, Ms Gillard's time was filled with visiting a
memorial, photo shoots and a spot of shopping in Arrowtown.
Ms Gillard and Mr Key announced, after a two-hour meeting at
the Hilton, that New Zealand would take 150 boat people a
year who have been approved as refugees by Australian
authorities in offshore processing.
When questioned by media how this would benefit New Zealand,
Ms Gillard said the deal would not send any message of
encouragement to boat people to come straight to New Zealand,
nor would it add to the 750 annual total New Zealand already
It will fit the `no advantage test', because we don't want
any message sent anywhere around the world that by transiting
to Australia you get some form of advantage, whether it is
resettlement in Australia or resettlement in New Zealand.''
The two prime ministers also announced both Governments' new
commitment to transtasman telecommunications and to lower
costs through action on roaming charges.
Ms Gillard said this would benefit holiday-makers and
business workers alike, from both countries. Once the
30-minute question time limit was over the two leaders
visited the Queenstown war memorial, to lay two wreaths.
They were greeted by a lone protester who goes by the name of
Fay, of Queenstown.
She held up a sign calling on Australia to close its offshore
processing centre in Nauru and said she did not agree with
the New Zealand Government's boat people deal with Australia,
as the new arrangements could include refugees processed
through offshore centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
Neither Ms Gillard nor Mr Key acknowledged the woman and left
in the 12-car motorcade to return to the Hilton for another
media opportunity, this time with the Cricket World Cup by
the Wakatipu lakefront.
The two prime ministers joked about which country was likely
to win the trophy in 2015, when New Zealand will host the
Although Ms Gillard's tone was convincing, Mr Key seemed to
have some doubt about the Black Caps.
''Well I hope New Zealand, but, umm, history would indicate
Australia are in a stronger position.''
Queenstown was in the loop to host a CWC match in 2015,
although organisers were not close to making a decision, Mr
From there it was ''let's go shopping'' as the prime
ministers, Mr Key's wife Bronagh and Ms Gillard's husband Tim
Mathieson took the motorcade to Arrowtown, where a media mob
followed them down Buckingham St, as they looked in nearly
Both prime ministers bought lollies from the Remarkables
Sweet shop. However, Mr Matheison had to settle for a venison
pie at the Arrowtown Bakery, after walking into the shop
hoping a mint and lamb variety would still be on offer - one
he had tried when he was last in Arrowtown, 12 years ago.
Mr Key took another photo opportunity when he was invited to
sit on a local's Harley-Davidson motorcycle outside the
Finally, the prime ministers reached their intended
destination, the Postmasters cafe, where they sat in view of
more than 100 locals, media and security guards.
Later that night, Ms Gillard and her husband enjoyed a meal
at Queenstown's Bunker restaurant.
Yesterday morning, Ms Gillard left from the airport.
''It has been very nice to come to Queenstown itself. I have
never been here before.
''It's a very beautiful, beautiful place. The scenery is
incredible and it seems like a very happy town, with every
one enjoying the sunshine and enjoying what it's got to
''It's been nice to say hello to a few locals as well.''