RIP Millsy

I was stunned and saddened to hear that Neil Miller or Millsy had died on Wednesday after a few days in ICU for a previously undiscovered illness. Neil was loved by pretty much everyone who knew him. He was one of the funniest and kindest people around. As news of his death spread, I got messages from former colleagues to former Prime Ministers about him.

Neil and I worked together in Parliament for many years. He was, I thought, the most talented researcher I had seen. He trained up a generation of MPs on standing orders, on speaking in the House and more. And he brought joy to all those who worked with him – through his terrible Hawaiian shirts, his indoor cricket playing in the corridors and his great sense of humour.

Neil was passionate about beer, wrestling, politics, debating, karaoke and cricket. He turned his love of beer into an occupation becoming NZ’s leading beer writer and teaming up with chefs like Martin Bosley to match beers to restaurant menus. He even ended up as a part-owner of a bar, and we would always joke whether his share of the profits ever matched his bar tab.

I doubt there was a bigger fan of professional wrestling in New Zealand. Many of us had watched Wrestlemanias at his old apartment on Molesworth Street, where his Tui couch had pride of place. Neil and I saw the new millennium in at his apartment on 31 December 1999.

Neil was also a legend in debating circles. He was often a celebrity adjudicator and his adjudicating remarks were often the highlight of the debate. A few years ago Neil and I got to to most of the Regional Conferences where I would chair the after dinner humourous debate and he would adjudicate it. This basically meant we got to mock John Key and Bill English over dinner and get wild applause for it. To be fair John and Bill would mock us back also.

Neil was very kind, and had a great love for animals. The one thing he couldn’t abide was cruelty to animals. He could often be found feeding the birds at Parliament.

As I said pretty much everyone who knew Neil loved him. He will be missed by so many, and all his friends will have a dozen or more Millsy stories to share. He truly has left us too soon, and we’re all thinking of his family, especially his fiancée Tamsyn who was the love of his life.

Rest in Peace Neil.

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