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Grant Robertson strikes a blow for Helen (but hits the Hospice)

  • April 21st, 2008

I’m sure Grant Robertson never intended to inflict collateral damage on Wellington’s Mary Potter Hospice when he wrote the anti John Key song squawked  by “Moana and the  Ministers’. But the Hospice took the ricochet.

Ms Clark told reporters that the Ministers were rehearsing the song (which Grant, until recently H3 in her office, admitted to writing) for last Monday’s Mary Potter Fundraiser at the Beehive. The NZ Herald report is on the Hospice’s website.

I’m told the Hospice then got calls from regular contributors saying they would stop donating. As the Hospice needs to raise over $3M a year from the public Mary Potter had to go into damage control.  They apparently told the organiser of the event they would not attend if the song was to be sung. Thankfully it was pulled.

I’m sure any damage will be short lived. Contributors big-hearted enough to help keep the Hospice operating will not let the incident disgust them for long.

But I’m not surprised that Grant is blogging piously on events in Dunedin and the China Free Trade agreement at the moment.



  • Grant Robertson
  • April 21st, 2008
  • 11:32 pm

Dear Stephen

‘Harmony in the House’ is a great event to be part of, and it has over the years raised more than $50,000 for Mary Potter Hospice. I participated in the Labour MPs item at this year’s concert and there was never any intention to sing that song. I understand that someone did tell the Prime Minister that it was to be performed, but the person who told her that was misinformed.

The confusion may have arisen because other lighthearted, politically themed, songs were written and performed by MPs for this year’s concert. Such songs, from MPs on both sides of the House, have been a feature of the concert over the many years it has been staged.

As in past years the concert was well attended, and the performances well received. I was very glad to give of my time to participate and help raise funds for the fantastic work of Mary Potter Hospice and the great people who work there.

Yours in piety 😉



[…] Stephen Franks points out that “that” ghastly song written by his rival Grant Robertson was intended for a fund-raiser at the Beehive for the Mary Potter Hospice, and that the Hospice has got damaged by the furore with donors threatening to pull funding if the song was used at the fundraiser. It was pulled, but really how on Earth did they ever think something like that would be suitable for a charity fundraiser. […]


Grant – I appreciate the attention you are giving to this, and I know that unlikely events can combine to make things seem more troublesome than they really are. This may be one of those cases, but the denial seems more entertaining than believable. It would be great to know who ‘misinformed’ the Prime Minister.

I suspect the kind of ‘confusion’ so catching in the Labour Party at the moment.

Why do I doubt the denial?
Because I can’t think of any other reason why three Ministers would manage to coordinate their timetables enough to practice such a timely ditty. For Ministers to get such time free together (with their leader Moana) is quite an acheivement.

I know the conventions of “Harmony in the House”. I’ve performed in it. It owes a lot to capping show precedents. Satirical skits are very much the style.

I actually thought your “lyric’ was rather skilful. It would not ordinarily have raised eyebrows at “Harmony in the House”. I’d have laughed and it would have passed me by as a subject for complaint.

Parliamentary insiders would hear it as a mild version of the way Labour people talk of their fellow MPs. Cosgrove used hours of his time whenever I spoke in Parliament to hurl sotto voce baseless insults at me, far more vicious than anything in that lyric. He was far enough from the Speaker for her to be able to ignore it.

So I am afraid I suspect you’ve been reading the Mike Williams instruction manual for Labour candidates – “when you’re in shallow hole, and the bullets are passing mainly overhead, stand up to look for a bigger one”.

  • Paul Williams
  • April 22nd, 2008
  • 1:02 pm

Stephen, your repetition of the allegation despite the emphatic denial is odd. What happened to your “concern” for the impact on the Hospice?

  • David Coverdale
  • April 22nd, 2008
  • 2:57 pm

Stephen doubts Grant’s denial because “I can’t think of any other reason why three Ministers would manage to coordinate their timetables enough to practice such a timely ditty.”

Perhaps Ministers wanted to do this in order to raise funds for their Wellington Central candidate, which they duly did (and were widely reported doing) before the performance at the Labour Congress. Ministersw of all strpires have been known to engage in party political activity before, why should this be any different?

Stephen, do you have any other reason to doubt the denial, or is that it?


I could be persuaded if I knew who the PM’s misinformer was, and why.

  • Paul Williams
  • April 22nd, 2008
  • 5:55 pm

Stephen, I doubt you could; I suspect you want only to continue this diversion instead of substantive matters on which you and your party have no policy.

I’m disinclined to believe your mock concern. Why? Because you’ve got a vested interest in pretending insight into local issues and in smearing the Labour candidate but mainly because you have no form on these matters – none that I’m aware of anyway.

Perhaps you’ll be more believable when you’ve set out a policy alternative on health care. When will that be by the way?

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