Nice try

December 22nd, 2012 at 3:55 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Two unemployed men arrested after trying to put their meals onto Prime Minister John Key’s bar-tab this week claim Key had offered to shout their meals and then reneged – a claim the Prime Minister’s office has rejected.


Mr Jellema said his bail conditions prohibited any alcohol, but had only had one beer and had the incident with Key not happened, it would not have been an issue. Mr Boyd said his bail conditions prevented him being drunk in a public place – but he also had only had one beer and subsequent testing had shown minimal alcohol in his system.

If he is already on bail, and has an alcohol prohibition as part of his bail terms, I think we can make some conclusions about their reliability.

It does remind me though of a National Party conference in the 1990s. One of my mates asked for my room number. I deduced he probably wanted to charge his drinks to it, so I gave him the number of the room next door to me.

Later in the night caught up with him, and he boasted how he had charged half a dozen drinks to my room. I then responded that it wasn’t in fact my room, but the one next door to me.

He was still very unconcerned at this point, and casually asked whose room it was. I replied that it was (then Finance Minister) Bill Birch’s. He turned several shades of pale and rushed downstairs to the bar to try and pay for his drinks, and get the charges removed. He correctly concluded that Mr Birch would have been very unimpressed to find my friend’s signature on bar drinks charged to his room!

Sir William Birch

February 25th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Normally I’d just comment on the post, but as No Right Turn doesn’t allow comments, I have to respond here.

In a tribute to Jeanette Fitzsimons, Idiot/Savant says:

But I also like her because she’s an unashamed wonk who seriously knows her stuff. It’s a rare quality in a politician – Bill Birch reportedly didn’t even know how to read a graph

Now I have no idea where the hell that comes from, let alone why I/S would repeat something so stupid, but I can’t let it go unchallenged that Bill Birch was some sort of lightweight politician who had no grasp of policy or detail.

Quite the opposite in fact. It is well known that when he was the (junior) Finance Minister to Winston’s senior role as Treasurer, Birch took care of all the detailed stuff, and Winston read the executive summaries.

But his eye for detail went far beyond that. I used to flat with Treasury staff, and I remember one story of the first time they had to sit in on a Birch bi-lateral.

The general rule of thumb at Treasury was that a vote analyst should only worry about stuff greater than $2 million.

Anyway in the first bilateral, not only does Birch go into every line in detail, demanding it be justified, he recalled the previous year they had stuck away $500,000 in some contingency account, and asked if that was still needed, and if not, he wants it back.

Now imagine how stunned the vote analysts were, that the Minister of Finance knew their votes to an even greater detail than they did!

So the suggestion by I/S that Sir William did not know his stuff, is ludicrous and preposterous. One could well criticise him for his policies, but to suggest what I/S did, is more a reflection on him that he spoils a nice tribute to Jeanette with an un-necessary and inaccurate swipe at someone who hasn’t even been in politics for a decade.