Tony Astle, National Party fundraiser extraordinaire and under this Government the recipient of an award as Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit is apparently a quite good chef and allegedly has good taste in food. Unfortunately he has very bad taste in politicians, having publicly backed John Key and National to the hilt. He has also made some rather weird public comments. He is obviously not afraid of the prospect of putting off wealthy progressives from frequenting Antoine’s Restaurant. But he should talk to a lawyer because he appears to be discriminating against people because of their political beliefs.
Rachel Glucina, social gossip columnist and official National Party propaganda spreader, said this recently:
The eccentric “godfather of New Zealand chefs” has banned Helen Clark – and jokes that David Cunliffe could be in his sights.
“I would have to consider banning Mr Cunliffe, should he ever become prime minister.”
Antoine’s, the favourite haunt of Prime Minister John Key, who is a frequent Sunday diner with his wife Bronagh, has entertained the great and the good for more than 40 years.
Astle is bringing out a book next year, and says he’ll dish the dirt on some of his more scurrilous patrons.
Len Brown, he says, was a frequent diner, coming as often as four times in one week before the SuperCity election. “But we don’t see him as much now.”
Astle is a staunch Tory supporter. The glittering 40th anniversary party he threw for Antoine’s last November billed Mr Key as a main attraction and many rich-lister Nat donors as guests.
Astle should talk to one of the many lawyers who frequent his restaurant. Discrimination on the basis of political opinion is prohibited. And banning Helen Clark and being willing to ban David Cunliffe is stupid at so many levels that it is hard to know where to start.
Astle no doubt thinks that his Remuera, Mission Bay, Epsom, St Heliers clientele will approve of his obnoxious privileged view. This may be so but there are a group of well heeled liberals who will probably never set foot in his restaurant ever again.
For me I would prefer to frequent the likes of the Hardware Cafe or the Refreshment Room or La Rosa or the Stripe Cafe where wonderful food and exquisite company can be experienced at a price which is within the range of most of us. Of course we need a society where this is within the range of all of us.
Astle and his kind would squirm at the suggestion that ordinary people could have a great meal and not subsidise his obnoxiously privileged lifestyle. But he is a dinosaur whose world view where he occupies a position of privilege is clearly wrong. There are multitudes of ordinary people whose contribution to our society is way more valuable than Astle’s contribution. And they have the decency to respect human rights.