Oh dear. The cash-strapped Government – borrowing $250 million a week for each of us to pay back some time – isn’t throwing the stuff around as generously as some people would like.
In particular it won’t come up with the dosh to ensure the “aunty” of an incredibly stupid woman can fly at public expense to Argentina.
The aforementioned incredibly stupid woman is drug-trafficking accused Sharon Armstrong.
Alf, who is a sensitive soul, would not normally belittle people by calling them stupid, let alone incredibly stupid, unless they support the Labour or Green parties.
In this case he makes an exception because he is talking about a self-confessed incredibly stupid person.
She is the 54-year-old former Maori Language Commission deputy chief executive who was arrested on April 13 after Buenos Aires Airport police found (or claim they found) 5kg of cocaine hidden in her suitcase.
Ms Armstrong maintains she did not know about the drugs and was tricked by a bloke she met – and fell in love with, good grief! – online.
She has been banged up since her arrest in a medium-security women’s detention centre in Ezeiza, about 30km southwest of Buenos Aires, although the nature of her stupidity gives Alf cause to wonder if she should not be committed to the Buenos Aires Home for the Bewildered.
Let’s check it out.
First, she has told the NZ Herald she knew she was carrying a secret parcel in a hidden compartment in her suitcase (while remaining adamant she had no idea the parcel contained drugs).
Second, she said she was tricked into believing she was taking a top secret business contract to a man in London that she had been dating online for six months.
“I know I have been incredibly stupid,” she said. “But I was in love with him.
“He said that it was documents and a contract. I don’t know any more about it and I didn’t ask. I just thought it was really important and that the contract was worth a lot of money.”
A 5kg set of documents, of course, would make it a very weighty tome, somewhat heftier than War and Peace with a few Bibles thrown in.
Back home in New Zealand, meantime, the woman she calls “aunty” wants to go Argentina to support her.
This aunty obviously feels a strong sense of entitlement.
This might have something to do with a belief common among some people that they are special and should be treated as special.
Whatever the reason, she is bleating about the rebuff in the Herald today.
Her name is Jean Ruakere, aged 77.
She told the Herald she yesterday called on the Government to send her and Ms Armstrong’s daughter to Argentina to provide emotional support but was refused.
“Refused” is a very political word.
Alf imagines her request was declined.
But this hasn’t shut her up.
Ms Ruakere, who cared for Ms Armstrong and her two siblings when her mother was sick, told the Taranaki Daily News she had spoken with her while in prison and believed she had been “duped” into carrying the drugs.
She said Ms Armstrong, who had no friends in Argentina, needed support and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s refusal was a blow.
Meanwhile in Buenos Aires (a nice place to visit, by the way, if you can keep out of jail) our self-confessed incredibly stupid woman is refusing to name the bloke who she claims has scammed her.
“I’m not wanting to protect him, but I’m not prepared to name any names for fear of any retribution.”
Oh, but she is taking umbrage at reports about the numbers of passports she was carrying.
Ms Armstrong said reports she was carrying four drivers’ licences when arrested were wrong.
She had three licences – New Zealand, Australian, and Cook Islands – with her at the time.
She said the Australian licence was for when she visited family, and the $10 Cook Islands licence had expired.
This was illuminating to Alf. He did not know they have cars in the Cook Islands, which he imagined was a Pacific Paradise without fume-spewing vehicles of any sort.
It was illuminating, too, to learn that taxpayers are being more generous to Ms Armstrong than they might like.
Staff from the New Zealand embassy in Buenos Aires had visited her in prison and had given her a Spanish dictionary, magazines and writing paper so she could write a journal.
Whether she writes in Spanish or English remains to be seen, but apparently it won’t be in Te Reo.
As the eagle-eyed Whale Oil observed, the former Maori Language Commission boss told the Herald on Sunday she hopes to get an iPod on which to learn Te Reo.
How come the Maori Language Commission boss hopes to get an iPod on which to learn Te Reo.
Who appointed her? I’m guessing it was Helen’s lot. Surely the head of the Commission should be able to speak Maori?
She will need a pen to write the journal no matter what language she chooses, of course. Maybe she can borrow one from her jailors.