Myrtle the Beehive-stair-climbing tractor has followed the Ranfurly Shield home from Taranaki, but it does not mean retirement for the protesting little Fergie.
After the Mooloos' successful shield campaign in New Plymouth, Myrtle's owner, Bob Appleton, decided it was high-time he reclaimed his famous TE 20 Fergusen as well.
"We thought since we won the Ranfurly Shield and Myrtle's been in Taranaki for eight years it was time we brought her home to her true land."
Myrtle shot to fame after Taranaki-King Country National politician Shane Ardern gunned her up Parliament's steps in a 2003 protest against a proposed flatulence tax.
Apart from a few other protest jaunts, Mr Ardern had been caring for Myrtle ever since, and was apparently reluctant to let her go.
Myrtle arrived in Eureka yesterday and started first pop as Mr Appleton backed her off the trailer, although she protested a little when being started in driving rain a short time later.
Mr Appleton said Myrtle was still available for protests, but only "if they are a good cause".
That meant protests against asset sales or other National plans would most likely be off the cards.
And anyone thinking they might try to buy Myrtle and restore her rust-brown shell to her former Labour red glory was out of luck, too.
A wealthy woman from Remuera offered Mr Appleton $25,000 for Myrtle after the Parliament protest, to no avail.
Myrtle was bought for £50 25 years ago, and in Mr Appleton's eyes she was priceless. "It's not for sale, it's not. It's too sentimental."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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