Editorial: It costs what it costs

Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012
John Levy
GIDDAY: Wakefield farmer John Levy and Prince Charles get acquainted.

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Aucklander Castislav Bacanov wanted to throw a bucket of horse manure at Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Why? Because the royal couple inherited their position and didn't earn it, and because of the cost to taxpayers to bring them here.

Similarly, a letter writer yesterday reckoned we were all hypocrites because the prince and Camilla had an affair while Diana was alive, and was also critical of the cost of the tour.

At the same time, hundreds were turning out around the country to wave flags and shake hands with the couple, who afterwards were described in various terms, all ending with the word "charming".

Are, then, the few detractors of this royal visit being petty and meanspirited?

To which, the answer is "yes".

Mostly.

Prince Charles might have inherited his position, but has Mr Bacanov ever wondered if that might be a curse rather than a privilege? And given the prince's job as a prince, Charles has earned widespread respect in how he has done it. Camilla is even warming to her role, and following in Diana's footsteps can't be easy.

As for the affair, didn't Diana branch out first, or doesn't that suit the argument?

The cost is another issue, not necessarily because we should begrudge it, but because it's a secret, which makes me think we should begrudge it.

Prime Minister John Key says "it costs quite a lot" to host the couple, while Governor-General Sir Jerry Mataparae says the cost will be revealed after they leave New Zealand, which I translate as "it costs quite a lot".

He adds, though, that New Zealanders will be OK with the expense.

Phew. So just tell us then.

We have paid for 64 people to join the prince for his 64th birthday, but that was a great idea. They are ordinary New Zealanders and lucky them.

Feeding and housing Camilla's hairstylist might be another thing, but how do you say nicely to the palace, "Sorry, if he comes, he'll have to stay at the nearest backpackers' "?

So, these things cost, and despite what Sir Jerry says, there will likely be a gasp or two when the final tally is released and people start to suggest what else the money could have been spent on.

And while you could argue the lack of worth to New Zealand of maintaining our royal links, to decline a tour here on the basis of cost would make us look - well - like hicks carrying around buckets of horse manure.

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- The Timaru Herald

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