Ah, so that’s how it’s done.
It is no secret that Alf has considered himself egregiously neglected by those who decide who should be gonged at New Year and in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The knighthood he covets has eluded him.
Now he knows what must be done, although, fair to say, it calls for somewhat extreme measures.
First, he would need to be on his death bed, and second, he would have to ask for Helen Clark to help him get his knighthood, which no self-respecting Nat would want to do.
But hey. It has worked for Paul Holmes.
The story is told by the HoS today (here).
Helen Clark intervened to get a quickie knighthood for ailing broadcaster Paul Holmes, after discovering how seriously ill he was.
Clark and her once-bitter rival, John Key, came together in unusual accord. Clark’s Labour government abolished knighthoods in 2000, only to have Key reinstate them in 2008. But, for her friend Holmes, Clark was willing to bridge any ideological gap.
About two weeks before Christmas, the New York-based former prime minister phoned Holmes’ residence, but was told he wasn’t up to talking to her. So she asked to be texted when Holmes was “lucid”.
The next day, Holmes spoke passionately to her of his desire for a honour.
He did a straight pitch for a knighthood,” a source said.
Well, bugger me, Alf muttered on learning of this.
You let Helen know you are crook, and when she phones, you ask her for a knighthood.
And even though she has an aversion to all honours that stem from or are in way connected to the monarchy, she will do her bit for you.
In Sir Paul’s case –
Concerned at the weakness in his voice and his obvious deterioriating condition, Clark asked those close to Holmes whether he was likely to survive until the next honours list.
“She said, ‘I want a yes or no answer, will he last until Queen’s Birthday?’ The answer was no.” So Clark acted promptly. “I’d better make some phone calls,” she said.
The honours list for New Year was full, Key’s staff said, but an email from Clark to Key apparently made the difference and Key told Holmes on Christmas Day.
And that’s how Sir Paul, 62, was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours for services to broadcasting and the community, with an investiture four months early at his home near Hastings.
But Alf is bound to wonder if Helen would so eagerly take up the cudgels on his behalf.
He further has to wonder about the ethics of seeking her help after spending lots of speaking time in the House telling the world how he rated her and her governance, which (let’s face it) was not very highly.
On the other hand, is it dishonourable to want to be honoured?