Must taxpayers pick up the tab for the first of the next line of royals to be conceived in NZ?

Alf is top of the list of the country’s ardent monarchists – or somewhere near it.

But he is bothered by a proposal to have the Government offer Prince William and Kate Middleton an all-expenses paid honeymoon to New Zealand to create a “fairytale” tourism driver.

It’s not the Government that will pay, see. It will be the taxpayer.

And Alf is always anxious to look after the best interests of taxpayers.

If someone else can pick up the tab, they should.

Alf moreover gets the whiff of opportunism from a Diana Moore, who operates the $10,000-a-night Lake Okareka Lodge near Rotorua.

It is her suggestion – reported today on Stuff – that the Government provide a honeymoon as its official wedding present “instead of giving a wedding gift such as a piece of furniture”.

“The potential value in exposure to New Zealand from being part of this real-life royal fairytale is beyond imagination – certainly right up there with worldwide exposure from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.”

So why doesn’t she offer the holiday to the couple?

Because it would dent her bottom line.

Although she’d “love to host William and Kate” after their April wedding next year, there would be no freebies, said Moore.

So someone else must cough up the dosh, which would amount to a king’s ransom if it had to come out of Alf’s pocket, although he mightn’t mind spending a few nights there with Mrs Grumble if he could get away with it as one of his perks.

This Moore woman obviously recognises that the Prince himself could pick up the tab, because your basic royals – obviously – can tap into pots of money without too much trouble.

“I don’t think the prince would find the $10,000 a night price tag too much of a problem. It’s a lot of money for most of us, but our overseas guests tell us it’s actually good value compared to other luxury properties overseas and when you take into account favourable exchange rates.”

The lodge was rated among the top 10 most romantic places in the world to propose in a survey by Hotels.com this year.

“Our guests usually book exclusive-use of the entire lodge and gated complex ensuring absolute privacy, seclusion and security,” said Moore. “Helicopter pilot Prince William could possibly take the controls of a chopper and fly his bride direct to the lodge and land at our helipad.”

Alf wonders why the newspaper bothered running this pap as a story, rather than require Moore to take out an advertisement.

Her pitch, after all, essentially is to promote her establishment.

And while her hostelry no doubt is posh, her imagination verges on the seedy as it envisions the prospect of a bit of princely rumpy-pumpy in the royal suite.

“And who knows? Perhaps another little prince or princess might even be conceived right here in New Zealand. Wouldn’t that provide a wonderful link with the royals?”

Moore is not alone in hoping to host the honeymooners.

Three of New Zealand’s other most luxurious locations – Kauri Cliffs, The Farm and Matakauri Lodge – have put their hands up as potential honeymoon locations.

Betsy Pie, the Melbourne-based spokeswoman for the trio, said they would be “ideal for the royal honeymoon – gorgeous, world class, quintessential NZ locations and discreet”.

“If they were to come to us, we would be very keen,” she said. “Our lodges would offer some exclusivity that they would be after. We would be thrilled if they came to New Zealand.”

Queenstown’s exclusive Millbrook Resort – very curiously – is tight-lipped on hopes of hosting the couple.

Matthew Gould, its director of sales and marketing, said: “We have quite strict instructions not to discuss the royal wedding. We are not discussing it at this stage.”

Is this bugger serious?

What possessed the management to sit down and discuss the royal wedding, then issue a directive to staff that they must not discuss the royal wedding?

The only good sense in all this nonsense seems to have been exercised by the management of Taupo’s world-famous Huka Falls Resort.

They did not return messages to the Fairfax bunch.

Give them a knighthood.

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