Labour keep focusing on the Royal Tour

April 9th, 2014 at 2:30 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Earlier today, Labour leader David Cunliffe took a swipe at John Key over the royal visit, suggesting the prime minister was milking the extra “face time” with Prince William and his wife, compared with his own limited meetings.

Oh dear. This is not a good look.

Labour seem to have had an obsession with the Royal Tour (which frankly I find a bore). They first invented a convention that you never have a royal tour in election year. After I pointed out there had been around five ro six previous royal tours in election years, they changed this to be no royal tour within six months of an election, but again there had been royal tours (when Labour were in power) much close to an election than this.

So first they invented conventions, and now they’re complaining they are not getting enough invites to hang out with the royals.

He also described a possible visit to the White House as “pre-election PR from the prime minister ” who was “stage managing the calendar of the year as it suits him”.

Umm, the NZ Prime Minister doesn’t decide the timing of an invite to the White House. In fact such invites are very very hard to get. If the PM is getting an invite, it is because President Obama likes and rates him.

A diplomat made an interesting observation to me a few weeks ago. He said that the national leader who has spent the most time in the last year with the President of the United States would be the NZ Prime Minister. He also said that the national leader who has spent the most time with the President of China would be the NZ Prime Minister. Now it is pretty extraordinary for any NZ PM to be the leader either super-power President has spent the most time with. But to be have had the most face time with both the US and Chinese Presidents – I’d say unprecedented for almost any national leader, let alone a minnow like New Zealand.

Cunliffe said it was very  important that the treatment of the royal visit was as even-handed as possible between the government and the opposition, and also that the visit was well-spaced from the election.

Of course the Prime Minister is going to have more time with overseas dignitaries than the Opposition Leader.

Asked why Key had so many events with the royals Cunliffe said, “I guess he likes the camera time.”

Key said that he would not be at the “vast, overwhelming” number of events on the royal visit schedule and did not believe he was milking the event.

“I don’t actually think anyone’s going to vote National, Labour or any other political party because we’re seen standing next to the royals when they’re in New Zealand,” Key said.

“They vote on the economy, law and order, health and education. As soon as David Cunliffe starts talking about that and not this sort of rubbish, he might do a little bit better.”

That’s actually sound advice. Whining that you have not had enough time with Price William is just not an attractive look – even if you honestly feel slighted.

At his one-on-one meeting with the prince, Cunliffe expected to discuss those issues the visitor wanted to raise. He would also be happy to brief him on things Labour thought were important such as building a fairer and more decent country and including everybody in the opportunities.

“I’m sure that he would agree with that.”

He would also talk about the deeper economic issues, such as the problems with the balance of payments.

Labour’s going to talk about the Balance of Payments with Prince William. Hell I may be a republican, but that’s just a step too far – cruel and unusual punishment!

Still making conventions up

February 4th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

In November, David Cunliffe invented a new convention. He claimed there was a convention you did not have royal visits in an election year.

I labelled this “Making Shit up“, pointing out there were royal tours in 1954, 1963, 1981, 1990 and 2002.

This invented convention has now been modified to a claim made this morning in the Herald:

Labour leader David Cunliffe said the G20 invite was a “nice to have”and should not be a factor in determining the election date. He said he was more concerned about the timing of the Royal visit.

“New Zealand is not even a member of the G20 so the G20 is not going to bat an eyelid whether we are there or not.

First of all that isn’t the point. It’s a privilege and opportunity to attend. Anyway back to the main point:

A more important factor was the timing of the Royal visit in late April – the usual convention was that any such visits should be at least 6 months before an election. “I’d really challenge him to say whether he was going to abide by that convention.”

This convention is also invented.

The 1981 visit was just two months before the 1981 election and the 2002 visit five months before the 2002 election. David Cunliffe was a Government MP in 2002 so should know this.

Royal succession bill passes

December 11th, 2013 at 11:42 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand is now able to have a Queen regardless of whether she has younger brothers, after Parliament passed a new law changing the rules of royal succession.

The Royal Succession Bill puts in place changes that were agreed in 2011 by the 16 realms who share the Queen as head of state.

All realms, including New Zealand, must have the same succession laws. …

Changes to the royal succession rules mean the order of succession will no longer be based on gender and will allow an elder daughter to precede a younger son as heir to the throne.

This rule will apply to any children in the line of succession born after October 28, 2011, including the recently born Prince George of Cambridge.

Assuming most Monarchs will live to 100 or so, Prince Charles will probably become King in around 2026 at the age of 78. Prince William may become King around 2048 at the age of 66 and Prince George become King around 2082 at the age of 69.

I supported this law change, but it is interesting to consider who would be King of New Zealand if this law change has applied from 1840 onwards.

Queen Victoria would have been succeeded by her daughter Victoria (Princess Royal) in 1901. Queen Victoria II would have reigned for eight months until August 1901 and then her son would have been King Wilhelm I (also Kaiser Wilhelm II) reigning until 1941. The King Wilhelm II would have reigned from 1941 to 1951. After that it would be King Louis Ferdinand I (who unlike his father did not support the Nazis) from 1951 to 1994. The current King of New Zealand would probably be King Friedrich Wilhelm who was born in 1939.

Making shit up

November 3rd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

He also used his speech to accuse the Government of snubbing a convention that invitations were not issued for a royal visit during an election year.

He believed Prime Minister John Key would invite the royal family to bring “its newest and cutest member here for a long series of photo ops in an election year”, Cunliffe said, referring to Prince William, wife Kate and their baby George.

Cunliffe has just invented this convention. The convention is not to have visits during or close to election campaigns. Rather silly to invent a fake convention and then accuse John Key of planning to break this fake mythical convention.

Based on some quick research, here are the previous royal visits which have occurred in election years:

  1. 1954, QEII
  2. 1963 QEII
  3. 1981 QEII
  4. 1990, QEII, Prince Edward and Princess Royal
  5. 2002, QEII

When you devote a proportion of your speech to attacking the PM for breaking a non-existent convention, then I guess it just means you din’t have much of substance to say.

The Royal Succession

October 22nd, 2011 at 11:12 am by David Farrar

Reuters reports:

A plan to overturn a 300-year-old ban on heirs to the throne marrying Roman Catholics and end discrimination against royal daughters is likely to be approved at a summit of leaders of Commonwealth nations next week, the government has said.

Both these changes are welcome steps forward. It means the oldest child of William and Catherine will be the Monarch after William, regardless of gender.

However while a Royal can now marry a Catholic, they can not themselves be Catholic.

This means that so long as NZ remains a monarchy, our head of state by law can only be Anglican. I think such religious discrimination has no place in the 21st century.