Okay, so Alf bombed out on the GG’s job.
He has been deeply depressed since learning the Queen has appointed former Defence chief Jerry Mateparae, who – for good measure – will get the knighthood that Alf for years has hoped might come his way.
Jerry (a splendid fellow, let the record show) will become the next Governor-General in August, to begin a five-year term when Sir Anand Satyanand steps down.
He will be 56 when he becomes New Zealand’s 20th Governor-General and Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that his relatively young age was a factor in choosing him.
“I just think we are a young, modern country. It’s a great fit for what we are doing,” he said. Mr Key said he had compiled a list but General Mateparae was his first choice.
The deeply depressed Alf discerns more than a whiff of ageism in that remark.
Obviously this explains why the long-serving (etc) member for Eketahuna North did not follow Sir Keith Holyoake into Government House while serving a wonderful Wairarapa community as its MP.
Let there be no misunderstandings here.
Jerry is a good bloke and will do a great job.
But in a chat with the PM to signal his availability and willingness to succeed Sir Anand, Alf advised he would be delighted to stand aside to allow one of the Royals to be appointed.
Prince Andrew was his recommendation.
Andy has admirable qualifications, over and beyond being a Prince of the Realm.
Let’s see. He is a keen golfer and was captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in 2003 and 2004 .
He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.
He is a regular goose hunting companion of Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
And he is a supporter of Norwich City football club.
The PM obviously thought we needed a military man, but dammit, the Prince is a military man, too.
He carved out a career in the Navy – not your two-bit New Zealand Navy, but the British Navy that spawned great heroes like Drake and Nelson.
The Prince was trained to fly helicopters, has commanded the Hunt Class Minehunter HMS Cottesmore, and went on to finish his naval career at the British Ministry of Defence as an officer of the Diplomatic Directorate of the Naval Staff. On 19 February, his 50th birthday, he was promoted to Rear Admiral.
General Mateparae – Alf acknowledges – has had a distinguished military career, too.
He has just become boss of the Government Communications Security Bureau, which Alf imagines makes him a high-ranking nosy parker, because it’s an outfit that provides the Government with foreign intelligence.
Of course, everybody is saying they are chuffed with his appointment as next GG.
General Mateparae’s appointment was greeted with wide approval and Mr Key revealed he had consulted Opposition Leader Phil Goff several weeks ago.
Mr Key had also phoned the Queen and “she was thrilled”.
Why should Her Majesty be thrilled?
On the other hand, would she have told the PM that – to the contrary – she was not amused, or (more strongly) was downright hostile to the idea?
The real question is what transpired during the phone call.
Did the PM say he was appointing the general – or that he was recommending the general be appointed?
This is important, because a GG is the Queen’s representative in New Zealand, and it would be far from proper for John to be telling the Queen who to appoint as distinct from advising her who to appoint.
Alf is sure the Queen (assuming she really was thrilled) would have been even more thrilled if John had advised her to give the job to Prince Andrew.
This would have removed the Prince from his position as special British trade representative. In that capacity he is apt to stir up controversy with the snotty bastards who collectively make up the British news media.
Our own news media have joined in the latest feeding frenzy
Much ado about nothing, says Alf, as they bang on about the Queen’s second son being friends with a convicted sex offender, being photographed with a teenage prostitute, and being accused of having ties to Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan regime.
The Duke of York also hosted the son of the Tunisian dictator shortly before a popular uprising drove him from power – and the buildup of embarrassment has sparked calls that he be stripped of his role as special UK trade representative.
Our PM could have done the Queen (and himself) a big favour by getting the Prince out of this mess and into a nice five-year job in Wellington.
He could still help out.
He needs someone to succeed Jerry at the spy shop.
Alf draws his attention to the Prince’s holding the rank of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.
If we must have a spy chief as the Queen’s representative at Government House, let’s have the Queen’s son as our next spy chief.
The Prince obviously is well tuned in to what’s going on in Libya, for starters, which Alf reckons is no bad thing as he contemplates taking out a bank loan to fill his petrol tank as a consequence of events in that wretched country.