Miffed missus reckons Rodney has a mess to clean up

Louise Crome probably has the great good sense to lie low and say nothing about her relationship with Rodney Hide.

This has left the gossip-hungry news media pouncing on all sorts of other people for their tittle-tattle about the unlikely libertine’s dalliance with a lass some 32 years younger.

Mrs Grumble is disappointed the news media have failed to tell us what Ms Crone finds attractive about a squat middle-aged MP with a Yul Brynner hairdo. Maybe she must wait for the Women’s Weekly or one of the other women’s magazines to tell all.

But the Herald on Sunday has tracked down Hide’s wife, whose thoughts on Rodney make for fascinating reading. The pity is she didn’t say a helluva lot more.

Dunno how much Mrs Hide is paying in taxes, but she would have cause to be pissed off about some of that money contributing to Ms Crone’s gallavanting around the world with Rodney.

The HoS tells us that some weekends Rodney and the new love of his life train together at a gym in Remuera and during the week, they fly down to Wellington where she is studying for a post-graduate degree, “and he helps run the country.”

The two have completely different, completely separate, but similarly successful, careers.

He has turned from a jovial, roly-poly opposition MP – famed for his campaign to trim public sector extravagance – into a tough, unforgiving political leader and minister.

She has spent much of her time based overseas in Amsterdam, furthering her professional squash career.

So it came as something of a surprise to many that Act leader Rodney Hide, 52, flew his 31-year-old girlfriend around the world with him at a cost of more than $25,000 to the public purse.

Then came the tid-bit that served as second best for Mrs Grumble, in the absence of an interview with the girlfriend.

No one was more surprised than his wife Jiuan Jiuan, from whom he separated 2 years ago.

“He is out of my life, and I’m pleased for that,” she said yesterday.

He may have trimmed the public purse, he may have trimmed down his waistline – but she says he’s never tidied up his affairs at home.

“I want to tell Rodney to come back and clean up the mess he has left behind,” she said.

“His entire life. He just walked out – that’s it. Just like that! It’s a shocking story.”

Others mentioned in despatches in the HoS are –

* Crome’s aunt Aileen Buscke, the sports co-ordinator at Remuera Rackets Club, who sees Hide at the club gym most weekends, and sometimes Crome works out with him. The age difference was of little concern, Buscke said. “Louise seems very settled and very happy. I don’t think she would have given that a thought really.”

* Marjorie Crome, who said her daughter’s 10-day trip to London, Toronto, Portland and Los Angeles had been very rushed, and then she had returned to intense public scrutiny. “It’s pretty tough because she is a very private person.”

And did the age gap worry her?

“Well, when you look at things on paper, things like that initially do.”

But, she laughed, there were no boundaries when it came to love.

“You can’t pick your kids’ partners can you? As long as they are happy, that’s the most important thing.

“My parents had a big age difference, but I don’t think it runs in the family,” she said. “I judge people as individuals.”

The SoH has also talked – good grief – to a bloody psychologist.

Lifestyle changes like Rodney Hide’s can be prompted by a person’s awareness of their own mortality, says psychologist Mary Farrell.

“Obviously you get to a certain point in your life and you know you’ve only got a number of years left.”

SoH readers then are treated to a rehash of Hide’s disclosure last year that, a few years earlier, he was so depressed that he didn’t care whether he lived or died.

He had been on the brink of losing his Parliamentary job, his health and his marriage.

Farrell said an awareness of mortality was not necessarily a sad feeling, but could spark a determination to get what you can out of your remaining years.

That can include making physical changes to improve your health and changes in your love life. Hide and his girlfriend Louise Crome, 31, have moved in together in Wellington.

“That might account for the weight loss,” Farrell said. “Love’s a motivational force, especially if they’re younger.”

The SoH notes that Hide is following in the footsteps of such famous older man-younger woman pairings as Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn (34 years younger), or Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones (25 years younger).

It didn’t mention veteran NewstalkZB hack Barry Soper and his young bit of crumpet, One News reporter Heather

Du Plessis-Allan. Soper, 57, and Du Plessis-Allan, 24, followed in the footsteps of Speaker Lockwood Smith and wed in the historic Grand Hall at Parliament last month.

The Grumbles were not invited.

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