On October 12, after receiving information via my tip line, I posted this on Facebook:
Imagine my surprise when I saw this pop up on a Government propaganda news site:
Jacinda Ardern has cancelled her wedding venue and the angry owner says the Prime Minister won’t pay a $5000 fee.
Robin Pierson – the owner of the Bushmere Arms venue, on the outskirts of Gisborne – says Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford booked the venue two years ago but talks broke down after a stoush over catering by a Kiwi celebrity chef.
“Jacinda and Clarke came here two years ago, she sat on the barstool and said, ‘We’d like to book our wedding here’,” Pierson told the Herald on Sunday.
Pierson said the couple had requested their friend, celebrity chef Peter Gordon, do the catering.
“Jacinda told me, ‘Peter Gordon has always said he wanted to be involved in my wedding’ to which I said, ‘I’ll have a free cooking lesson any day,’ thinking it would be a collaborative effort and we would be working together.
“My food is nothing like what Peter Gordon would do. I’m sure Clarke wouldn’t be bragging ‘Robin Pierson did our wedding’. I don’t think that cuts the mustard,” Pierson said.
Gordon is a world-class chef, food writer, and restaurateur. Last year he and his partner Alistair Curruthers opened Homeland, a restaurant/cooking school/community project on Auckland’s waterfront.
Pierson said Barbara Ward, Ardern’s electorate secretary, visited the Bushmere Arms to assist the couple with their wedding plans in early May.
“They came and had a look around; I didn’t get involved. She said she needed to do some costings and needed to talk to Peter Gordon,” Pierson said.
On July 5, Pierson said Ward returned with Gordon and Carruthers.
Pierson said they were friendly and the meeting went well but they never discussed the menu or food.
“A week later I got sent a proposed menu from Peter Gordon’s ‘man’, which had been worked out with the bride and groom. It was then I suddenly realised I wasn’t involved in the catering at all and that Peter Gordon had clearly been contracted to do the food.
“The day they were here they should have been upfront and said, ‘I’m contracted to do the food now,’ but I don’t think he wanted to share the limelight with anybody.
Pierson was asked by Gordon to provide lettuce leaves from his garden, plums, homemade shortbread, and some mini pizzas for late-night snacks.
“It was insulting and I told them that too. In a cover letter with the menu, they thanked me for my hospitality. They were working on pricing for the event for the staff labour and the venue only.
“Peter Gordon was invoicing them separately for the food he was creating. I emailed back to say how insulted I was and told them the venue would cost $28,000.
“Barbara sent me an email saying she was sorry I was insulted and that everything had gone ‘pear-shaped’. She then asked for a price and menu for Peter Gordon as a guest only. I emailed an outline and said the cost would be $100 to $110 per person, depending on the final menu,” Pierson said.
On August 31, Pierson received an email to say his proposal was rejected and the couple no longer wanted to hire the venue.NZ Herald
How interesting, it seems my tipster was spot on.
It is also very interesting seeing Barbara Ward’s name as well. Ward is deeply involved in Labour’s fund-raising scam used to defeat election donations laws, which is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
Ward is also the partner of Government Minister David Parker. Obviously, her sinecure position paid from the taxpayers pocket hasn’t been enough so she is now also moonlighting as a wedding planner.
Certainly, any thoughts that this might not be a good look were not given lightly.
I’m not sure Parliamentary Services will be too happy that she’s taken two business hour return flights to and from Gisborne in order to arrange the Prime Minister’s wedding. That cannot in any way be classed as electorate work pertaining to the Member of Parliament for Mt Albert.
Perhaps the Press Gallery will now question the PM on why she flew her Mt Albert electorate secretary down to Gisborne “to assist the couple with their wedding plans” and was her time and travel funded by the taxpayer? Two fair and legitimate questions? Tova? Jessica?
Meanwhile, the Labour nasties, including Ardern’s former chief of staff, Neale Jones, are busily spreading muck about the venue and also about where the story might have originated from:
Guilty as charged. But Neale, fella, it turns out the story was right. That means I was right…again. So much for the rumour being spread that I didn’t have much cred anymore.
That’s two embarrassing stories, with plenty more to come. I’ve still got it, pal.
In other news, the same tipster tells me that the real venue is Nick’s Head Station, owned by New York financier John Griffin.
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