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Friday, March 4, 2011

Key eager to enlist Oprah, Letterman

Key eager to enlist Oprah, Letterman

By Audrey Young and Amelia Wade
5:30 AM Monday Feb 28, 2011
The Government plans to speak to Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman in its effort to publicise its Christchurch earthquake fund.

Prime Minister John Key opened the fund yesterday and said he hoped to raise some "significant cash".

"We are going to speak to well-known international talk-show hosts, maybe Letterman or Oprah Winfrey, those kinds of people."

Mr Key said the Government would also use social networking site Facebook and other websites as well as its embassies worldwide to promote the fund.

"We believe this is an earthquake of worldwide proportions and we believe that, around the world, we will receive substantial support for the fund," Mr Key said.

Asked how much he hoped the fund would generate, Mr Key did not name a figure but said the Australian bushfires fund raised A$389 million ($527 million).

The Government's fund will sit alongside the Red Cross and Mayoral fund.

Mr Key also said half of this week's Lotto sales would go to the fund.

Fifty cents from every dollar spent on Lotto, Lotto Strike and Lotto Powerball will be donated.

Mr Key said he would buy some Lotto tickets himself this weekend and also planned to personally donate money to the fund.

NZ Lotteries spokeswoman Karen Jones said that, judging by last week's ticket sales, about $6 million would likely be donated.

Kiwi entrepreneur Owen Glenn has already kicked in $1 million.

Mr Glenn said he wanted to help in some small way simply because he was a New Zealander.

"I grew up in New Zealand, it holds a special place in my heart and to see such devastation, such hurt and such loss makes you want to help," he said from London.

"It's very difficult to find the right words at a time like this. The people of Canterbury particularly but all New Zealanders are enduring so much right now.

"I feel very far away but rest assured my love, prayers and thoughts are with you all."

* Mr Key has cancelled a planned trip to Europe for the second time because of an earthquake in Christchurch.

He was forced to cancel an earlier trip to Balmoral Castle and meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron because of the first earthquake on September 4.

The latest trip was still in the planning stages and had not been formally announced, but Mr Key had planned to leave March 9 on a trip to Moscow, where New Zealand is negotiating a free trade agreement, as well as visiting France and Britain.

Meetings with Mr Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were among those scheduled.

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