22 Jul 2011

Senior Senators skip meeting with Key

12:53 pm on 22 July 2011

Two senior Democrat and Republican Senators pulled out of a planned meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Thursday as debt crisis talks continue in Washington.

Mr Key is in the United States capital for two days of talks and was scheduled to meet with Senate majority leader Harry Reid and minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

The pair, who are at the heart of negotiations over raising the US debt ceiling and reducing the deficit, were replaced at the last minute by Senators John Kerry and Dick Lugar.

Earlier, Mr Key met Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Reserve Bank chairman Ben Bernanke.

Mr Key says the US economy represents a third of the world economy and what happens there matters to the rest of the world.

Address to Chamber

Mr Key told the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Thursday that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade talks will have a significant impact on the region.

He said the Trans Pacific Partnership represents something genuinely new and important: it will establish a framework that will work for countries as diverse as Vietnam, the United States and New Zealand.

Mr Key said New Zealand wants a high-quality and future-proofed agreement.