John Key on Letterman | The Jackal

4 Aug 2011

John Key on Letterman

Recently it was revealed that Tourism NZ paid the PR frim Hill & Knowlton $10,000, to get John Key on the David Letterman show. They engaged the PR firm because after at least six months of lobbying, Letterman was uninterested in having John Key on his show.

If you can stand the cringe factor, I've embedded the John Key - Letterman video below for your displeasure.

Personally I was embarrased at Key's smile and wave routine as Letterman mocked New Zealand. Following the revelation that the appearance cost $10,000, John Key used the excuse that his appearance was good for tourism and therefore well worth the money paid.
“As Minister of Tourism, it was a good thing to do. In my view, it promoted New Zealand,” John Key said.
The appearance on the David Letterman show was designed to increase New Zealands international profile, and therefore increase the number of visitors coming to New Zealand. This chart indicates that John Key's campaign has been a complete failure.

Now the Government paying PR firms is nothing new, but there's some interesting facts concerning Hill & Knowlton that people should be aware of.

Along with the Kuwaiti ambassador’s family, Hill & Knowlton fabricated the story that Iraqi troops murdered Kuwaiti babies to provoke a military response. Effectively they undertook dishonest practices to promote a US led war that has claimed thousands of innocent lives. To date, Hill & Knowlton's campaign of propaganda constituted the largest foreign-funded campaign ever aimed at manipulating public opinion.

Hill & Knowlton are paid a monthly retainer by Tourism NZ, which means they don’t need to do anything to get paid a minimum fee. The minimum retainer payment to Hill & Knowlton works out to be between $240,000 to $360,000 per year.

Not only does it cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars to employ a morally corrupt PR firm, John Key's appearance on the David Letterman show has decreased tourism as well.