Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, January 13th, 2013 - 102 comments
Categories: cycleway, Minister for Overseas Holidays, newspapers, The Standard, tourism - Tags: helen clark, robert muldoon, zetetic
In an article this morning on Stuff, Michael Field responds to a question he attributes to “Labour Party blog, The Standard” about our Minister of Tourism spending most of his holidays in Hawaii and fails to answer the question he cites. Instead, Field uses the article to divert and mislead, by claiming that Helen Clark and David Lange were just as bad. The article ends by championing Robert Muldoon as the true Kiwi, spending his holidays at a New Zealand beach, in jandals and shorts, and still being available for business.
Field treats The Standard as a person, and, instead of correctly attributing the cited question to Zetetic in his ‘Minister for Overseas Holidays post, attributes this quote to The entire blog:
Only on the Labour Party blog, The Standard, is there much criticism of Key’s holiday – and this overlooks Clark’s holiday antics.
“Are you ‘jealous’ that Key’s off to Maui for three weeks, again?” asks the Standard.
“Or are you just a bit pissed off to learn that our minister of tourism has so far spent over 100 days overseas on holiday since becoming PM, while the average Kiwi’s had just 27 days abroad and tourism here is in crisis?”
Field fails to take up the point Zetetic makes about Key’s lack of promotion of New Zealand tourism in his choice of holidays. He fails to mention that, alone among the prime ministers mentioned, Key is the Minister of Tourism while PM. It fails to mention Clark was Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage. Staying off the point, Field mentions Helen Clark’s very active holidays in Norway during New Zealand’s summer holiday period, but fails to mention all the holidays she took in New Zealand.
A quick google search to find support my memory of Clark’s tramping holidays in the South Island threw up some interesting links. There’s this item on the NZ Travel Planner site, reporting on Clark’s prominent role TV travel programme, aired in the US, that follows her tour of New Zealand adventure and active tourist spots. It is a tour given credibility by Clark’s inside knowledge gained from holidays she had spent actively engaging with New Zealand’s countryside:
Travel Channel’s Chief Correspondent Peter Greenberg says “I’ve been coming to New Zealand for more than 28 years, and as much of a seasoned traveller I think I might be, I was in for a rather pleasant surprise. The Prime Minister took me to places I didn’t know existed, and then we experienced these locations in a way that was at times physically challenging, but always exhilarating. She has an incredible knowledge of her country and its people. She was not just my very special tour guide, but perhaps New Zealand’s best goodwill ambassador.”
Included in the programme the Prime Minister visits a bungy jumping site, ice climbs the southern alps, rides jet boats on the Shotover River, treks through Fiordland and abseils 400 feet in the Waitomo Caves. Each of the sites she visits and all of her activities are accessible to travellers.
I also came across this June 2008 article by Audrey Young, accompanied by a photo of Clark skiing in the Southern Alps. Young begins the article:
No matter the season in New Zealand, Prime Minister Helen Clark likes to head for the hills–big white ones, with a good layer of snow. During the country’s summer (December through February), Clark, 58, spends two weeks in Scandinavia to indulge her love of cross-country skiing, which she took up at the age of 41. The Rondane National Park area in Norway is a favorite destination. But at this time of year–winter in the Southern Hemisphere–Clark travels to the mountainous regions of South Island when Parliament is in recess.
And I also found this 2008 article about a member of Clark’s South Island alpine party needing dying:
A mountain guide in Prime Minister Helen Clark’s alpine party has died near Lake Tekapo in the central South Island today.
Police tonight confirmed the dead man was Gottlieb Otto Braun-Elwert, aged 59.
Miss Clark is understood to have been involved in resuscitation efforts on him late this afternoon.
So what’s John Key, Minister of Tourism, done lately for New Zealand tourism? And how’s that cycleway going, John? Have you done the active thing and taken a holiday along it to promote local tourism?
NB: Mr Field, this is not a Labour Party blog, I am not a Labour Party member, and in recent times have party voted Green Party.