Rodney Hide on Prince Charles

December 2nd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

That’s it: I am no longer faithful and true to the Queen’s heirs and successors. The Queen is an amazing woman, a living and breathing piece of history. I greatly admire her. She gives us no pain and a local president would likely prove problematic.

But Prince Charles is a royal trainwreck. He has torn it for me. He is too stupid and too whacky to be a king commanding respect.

It was his claim that the terror of Isis is the world’s fault for not dealing to climate change that did it.

He says if only we had listened to him – some 20 years ago – and de-industrialised – then gays would not be thrown off buildings, innocents would not be beheaded and the major cities of Europe not terrorised.

That’s a special sort of stupid.

The Prince was asked whether he saw a link between climate change, conflict and terrorism, to which he answered, “absolutely”.

I don’t begin to understand the barbarity of Isis. But I haven’t heard of these terrorists screaming for the world to commit to Kyoto before self-immolating themselves and everyone nearby.

That’s our next Head of State, unless we change things. We don’t get a vote on it – he just becomes King of New Zealand when the Queen dies.

Prince Charles being made a New Zealand Field Marshall!

August 4th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prince Charles is to be given three military titles when he visits New Zealand in November.

The Queen has given her approval for the Prince of Wales to be made Admiral of the fleet of the Royal New Zealand Navy, a Field Marshal for the army and Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. 

These are what you call the equivalent of a five star general. It’s the rank Kin Jong-un gives to himself!

We have never had a non-honorary appointment at this rank.  Prince Philip also holds these ranks.

Outside of war we never appoint anyone to four star rank of General, Admiral, Air Chief Marshall, and I think even in war we never have.

The Chief of Defence Force is given three star rank as a Lieutenant General, Vice Admiral or Air Marshall.

The Vice CDF, Commander of Joint Forces and section heads gets two star ranks – Major General, Rear Admiral and Air Vice Marshall.



Bravo Prince Charles

May 21st, 2015 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

The long, smiling handshake between Gerry Adams and Prince Charles, balancing an informal cup of tea in one hand, was a historic moment not only because it was the first such encounter in the Republic since partition. It happened only because each of them was prepared to look beyond old wounds that as Mr Adams, the Sinn Féin president, acknowledged, have not been entirely healed by peace. For both, it was an encounter of personal significance that also challenged the prejudices of their supporters. It was an unusual moment of collective conciliation between a symbol of republicanism and a symbol of British monarchy – and a moment of almost intimate forgiveness.

It is more than 35 years since Lord Mountbatten, his grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, 14, and a 15-year-old local boy, Paul Maxwell, were blown up by the Provisional IRA at a time when Mr Adams was what is coyly described as a “leading figure” in the republican movement. At the time, he justified the murders by claiming that Mountbatten was too old a soldier not to be aware of the “danger involved in coming to this country”.

Adams’ defence of the Mountbatten murders was vile. Mountbatten was like a grandfather to Prince Charles, and shaking the hands of the apologist for his murder would be no easy thing to do.But it is what the job requires, for the good of the United Kingdom.

For Prince Charles, with apparent warmth, to shake hands with the man who was at the least an apologist for the murder of Mountbatten, who had been the prince’s lifelong mentor and friend, suggests a very personal and indeed admirable act of forgiveness.

An admirable act of duty also.

The Charles letters

May 14th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian has them in full. Our so called neutral future head of state spends more time lobbying Ministers than most lobby groups it seems.

Some of the issues he has lobbied on:

  • Regulation of dairy sector
  • Buying new Navy helicopters
  • Patagonian toothfish
  • Diets for schoolkids
  • Encouraging herbal medicines
  • Culling badgers
  • Appointment of a colleague to be an agricultural arbitrator

Prince Charles’ letters to be released

March 27th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

David Cameron has admitted defeat after the government lost a 10-year battle with the Guardian to keep secret a “particularly frank” cache of lobbying letters written by Prince Charles.

Following a supreme court ruling on Thursday that 27 letters between the heir to the throne and ministers must finally be published under the Freedom of Information Act, the “deeply disappointed” prime minister has told aides to prepare their release.

The judges decided by five to two that the government had acted illegally when it vetoed the publication of Charles’s ministerial correspondence, the release of which had previously been approved by a lower court.

It will be the first time that any of Charles’s “black spider memos” have been made public through official channels, and their release is expected to reveal how the heir to the throne attempted to influence government policies in private correspondence.

The advantage of a monarchy is that it is meant to be a politically neutral institution. These letters will show beyond doubt that Prince Charles is not in any way politically neutral. I don’t want him to be New Zealand’s next Head of State.

An activist King?

February 2nd, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Prince of Wales’ preparations for an activist monarchy have prompted a backlash, as a new book revealed a dysfunctional and divided court around him.

Someone who has worked closely with him said: “He is dying to have his go with the train set. He does cause concern with his outbursts. He’ll struggle to restrain himself.”

The book, Charles, The Heart of a King, by Catherine Mayer, claims he is a tortured individual who endures moments of “extreme despondency” and feels guilty about his privileged upbringing. …

The Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on whether his “black spider” letters to ministers should be published. But some observers are concerned he is pushing for a more active role in national life even before he succeeds to the throne. Someone with close links to the Palace said: “It is no accident that he writes all those letters to ministers. He does see himself as a kind of saviour of the nation, someone who can mend the broken country. Some might see that as presumptuously messianic.” …

He is also understood to support the case for proportional representation in Westminster elections and he opposes the Human Rights Act. Whether he would keep his counsel on such issues is debatable at best.

Our future King of New Zealand – a messianic zealot with a saviour complex. And we don’t even get a choice as to our next head of state as we have a system where the UK decides effectively decides it for us.

Let’s just have a Governor-General appointed by Parliament for a five year term.

The meddling (to be) King Charles

January 6th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Nick Cohen writes in the Guardian:

The future Charles III expects to be heeded, not scrutinised, and above all he expects to intervene in politics with a regularity and partisanship his mother never dared imitate or, as far as we know, ever wanted to imitate either.

There’s no secret. His aides have announced that King Charles will “reshape the monarch’s role” and make “heartfelt interventions”. I can’t see him moderating his stance when his mother dies. He’s 66 and has waited for the throne all his life. Unlike Prince Andrew, he can move out of the gossip columns and into the history books. Old men in a hurry don’t change when a prize like that is in sight. More to the point, no one is making him change. A by no means exhaustive list of his political interventions includes: health – he forced ministers to listen to his gormless support for homeopathic treatments and every other variety of charlatanism and quackery; defence – he protested against cuts in the armed forces; justice – he complained about ordinary people’s access to law, or as he put it: “I dread the very real and growing prospect of an American-style personal injury culture”; political correctness – he opposes equality as I suppose a true royal must; GM foods – he thinks they’re dangerous, regardless of evidence; modern architecture – he’s against; and eco-towns – he’s for, as long as he has a say in their design.

Charles could well live to be 100, so might be King of New Zealand until 2050 or so, unless we decide to make a change.

A political King

November 21st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Prince of Wales intends to continue making “heartfelt interventions” in matters of national importance when he becomes king, rather than adopting the Queen’s blanket impartiality on public affairs, close friends have said.

As Charles III he will redefine the “evolving” role of monarch, as he believes he has a duty to ask questions of those in power on issues such as the environment, on which he has campaigned for decades. Patrick Holden, an adviser to the Prince on sustainability, told the Guardian: “He feels these issues are too serious to ignore.”

So the next King of New Zealand will be a political campaigning interfering King.

If we’re to have a political Head of State, wouldn’t it be better to be one we can choose?

Do we want a lobbyist as our King?

August 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

The office of the Prince of Wales has said he had a right and a duty to communicate privately with the government “on any matter he chooses”, after the extent of his private meetings with ministers came under renewed questioning.

An analysis of palace records showing that Prince Charles has held private meetings with cabinet ministers at least 36 times since the 2010 general election was seized on by campaigners for a republic who said it showed he was “a political operator and businessman with direct access to government”.

Charles has met the prime minister, David Cameron, seven times and in many cases held meetings with ministers who have responsibility for areas in which he has taken a particular interest, according to the Daily Mail.

The idea of having a Monarch, is that they are politically neutral. When a monarch is more of a lobbyist than a politically neutral figure, then the rationale for remain with the monarchy weakens. Why should one hereditary lobbyist get unfettered access to Ministers to push his personal views?

Hat Tip: No Right Turn

Our future?

July 10th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Three senior judges have ruled that the public has no right to read documents that would reveal how Prince Charles has sought to alter government policies.

The high court judges have rejected a legal attempt by the Guardian to force the publication of private letters written by the prince to government ministers.

Cabinet ministers have conceded that the prince’s private letters – dubbed “black spider memos” because of their scratchy handwriting – contained the prince’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” that could undermine the perception of his political neutrality. …

Grieve had argued that disclosure of the 27 “particularly frank” letters between the prince and ministers over a seven-month period would have seriously damaged his future role as king. The attorney general said there was a risk that the prince would not be seen to be politically neutral by the public if the letters were published.

“This risk will arise if, through these letters, the Prince of Wales was viewed by others as disagreeing with government policy. Any such perception would be seriously damaging to his role as future monarch because if he forfeits his position of political neutrality as heir to the throne, he cannot easily recover it when he is king,” Grieve had said.

This is almost Orwellian. It is not the publication of his letters that would damage his political neutrality. It is the fact he is in fact in no way politically neutral. His letters are what damage his political neutrality, not their publication.

The argument for the monarchy is that it provides a politically neutral head of state. It clearly does not. Prince Charles appears to be somewhere between Labour and the Greens in his political views. Good on him, but why should he get to become King of New Zealand?

Paul Little on Prince Charles

November 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Paul Little writes:

Prince Charles, the plant whisperer, falls into that rapidly growing category of people who were “greenie before it was trendy” and have “always been a bit of an environmentalist in my own way”. Good for him. But he has also been revealed over the past seven years to be someone obsessed with secrecy and whose dealings with the British government tread a very fine constitutional line at best.

He has gone to great legal lengths to prevent publication – sought by the Guardian newspaper under official information legislation – of 27 letters written to MPs lobbying over matters close to his heart. 

Topics included, according to testimony by law professor Adam Tomkins, “the perceived merits of holistic medicine, the perceived evils of genetically modified crops, the apparent dangers of making cuts in the armed forces, his strong dislike of certain forms of architecture”.

The merits of his opinions are not the issue. The issue is that he is attempting to influence politicians – something which, as monarch, he will be prohibited from doing – and does not want the British public to know this.

After seven years of legal actions, a tribunal of three British judges ruled a month ago that the letters should be released. This decision was vetoed by the Attorney-General who effectively confirmed the letters were damaging by saying their release would “have undermined (the Prince’s) position of political neutrality”.

In other words, he is not politically neutral. There is now – after pressure from the Royal Family – an absolute block on any future publication.

Why should we care about Charles’ efforts to stop British people knowing what he thinks? The British tolerate the institution of monarchy in part as a money-spinning tourist attraction. For us, it doesn’t even have that benefit.

Constitutionally, he will be New Zealand’s head of state when he ascends the throne. But do we want as head of state – however notional the role – someone who not only flouts constitutional convention by attempting to influence politicians but also tries to conceal the fact when attempts are made to bring it to light?

All very good points. Our Head of State should be politically neutral – and be a New Zealander.

The Republican Movement has a “It’s time for change” campaign to coincide with the visit.

If we do not change, then one day Charles will be King of New Zealand.

Is Phil a Prince Charles?

March 12th, 2010 at 3:11 pm by David Farrar

Brian Edwards blogs on the Prince Charles syndrome:

I assume Phil Goff would like to be Prime Minister of New Zealand. He has every reason to think he deserves the job. He’s served a lengthy apprenticeship, having come into Parliament in 1981, the same year as Helen Clark. And he’s had a distinguished career as an MP and Cabinet Minister. He’s highly intelligent and well-informed on a whole range of portfolios from Justice to Foreign Affairs. And he comes from good Labour stock.

Goff and his party are languishing in the polls at the moment, but their figures are actually better than Helen Clark’s and Labour’s were in early-mid 1996.

Labour in early 1996 dropped as low as 14%. But the overall left vote was pretty strong – with the Alliance and NZ First, they were around 50%.

Labour and Greens have no other potential partners on the left, except the Maori Party, which Labour keeps doing its best to alienate.

But it’s interesting to speculate what might have happened if Clark had not  called the coup leaders’ bluff and stood down. In every conversation I’ve had with Michael Cullen, he’s claimed to have had no interest in leading the Labour Party or being Prime Minister. So Labour’s new leader might well have been Phil Goff: 43, talented, hungry, going places.

Could Goff have won against Bolger in 1996? Quite possibly. A factor in Winston Peter’s decision to go with National in the country’s first MMP election may well have been his reluctance to serve under a woman Prime Minister. So he might just have gone with Labour, and Phil Goff would have achieved his ambition to lead the country.

A big factor in NZF going with National was the sheer arrogance of the Labour negotiators. A Goff leadership might have avoided making that mistake.

I also think Labour would have done quite a bit better in 2008, if Goff had been made Finance Minister in mid 2007.

Popular political wisdom at the moment has it that Labour will not win the next election. If that is right and if Goff’s personal rating as preferred Prime Minister has not significantly improved by then, he’s unlikely to survive long as Opposition leader after the election. In similar circumstances, Clark had 6 months to improve her poll ratings and did so spectacularly. Goff has at least 18 months and National’s social and economic policies will inevitably begin to erode the party’s huge lead in the polls well before then. So Goff is in with a chance, albeit a slender one.

Against him is a less easy, less engaging image than Key’s and a phenomenon which I like to call The Prince Charles Syndrome. Charles, the man who would be king, has simply been around too long. Kept waiting by a mother in excellent health and showing no inclination to abdicate, the once young and attractive prince has lost his appeal to his handsome and exciting son, Prince William.  Kept waiting by the hugely charismatic, if morally flawed Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, the dour Scottish son of a Presbyterian minister, may have suffered the same fate – around too long. And the same may be true of Phil Goff.

At the heart of National’s 2008 election win was the simplistic but potent belief that it was ‘time for a change’. John Key had been in Parliament only 6 years when he became Prime Minister. He was fresh and new and the electorate is giving him a lot of slack. We are still getting to know him.

When the 2011 election rolls around, Phil Goff will have been in Parliament for 30 years, kept waiting for twelve of those years by a woman who in 1996 also refused to abdicate.

So does Phil Goff deserve to be Prime Minister of New Zealand? I believe that he does.

And has he been around too long? Possibly.

I an normally very loath to make predictions about what party will win an election, or even a seat. Partly because of my day job, and partly because I know how quickly things can change.

I was very cautious about the results of the 2008 election, right up to and including election night.

However for most of the last year I have been saying that I do not think Labour will win the next election. Not because John Key is popular. Not because National is in its first term. But because, like Brian Edwards, I do not think voters will choose to elect as a “fresh face” someone who has been an MP since 1981.

Of course it can happen, National could implode. Some sort of event could cause the public to want a PM with 30 years experience in Parliament, rather than John Key. But it is a very hard sell, regardless of what Goff does.

The baby boomer generation did place a premium on experience in Parliament. Holyoake served 25 yars before becoming PM. Marshall served 26 years. Nash did 28 years. Kirk did 15 and Muldoon did 15.

Later on it was shorter. Lange did 7. Bolger 18, Shipley 10, Clark 18 and Key 6.

Even in the old days, 30 years was beyond the waiting period for Holyoake, Nash and Marshall.

Today people distrust more people who have spent their entire life in Parliament. It is, well uncool. Look around the world:

Kevin Rudd became Pm after only eight years in Parliament. Tony Blair took 1 years to be Leader and PM in 14. David Cameron may do it in 13. Even Tony Abbott is in only his 16th year. Stephen Harper made PM 13 years after he entered. Angela Merkel took 15 years.

Now this is not a hard and fast rule. But it is a sign of the massive challenge ahead of Goff, to convince voters that he is a Prime Minister to lead NZ into the future.

Poor Prince Charles

November 14th, 2008 at 9:55 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports how much Prince Charles dislikes touring New Zealand:

The Prince wrote to friends at the time that if “one more New Zealand child asks me what it’s like to be a prince, I shall go demented”, the Guardian newspaper reported yesterday.

Charles will become King of New Zealand when the Queen dies. As readers will know, I prefer Republic with a written constitution.