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On Saturday, 17 January, Prime Minister John Key broke his arm in two places in a fall at an event in Auckland. During a trip to Papua New Guinea for the Pacific Forum Leaders' meeting and a subsequent stopover in the Solomon Islands, his cast was signed by a number of international dignitaries, including Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Now that signed cast - which will come off in the next two weeks - is available to bidders on TradeMe. The beneficiary of the winning bid will be The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, which operates blindness prevention programmes in the Pacific. The Foundation estimates there are 5,000 blind people in the Solomon Islands, mainly needing cataract surgery. A further 15,000 will be suffering from poor vision from cataracts and the need for glasses. Five eye doctors and 20 eye nurses are required to address blindness and vision disability in the Solomon Islands. There are currently two eye doctors and 12 eye nurses working in the Solomon Islands. John Key will also sign the cast and - subject to scheduling arrangements - will meet with the winning bidder for morning tea.
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