An unseemly spat has caused our Prime Minister to publicly insult former Chief Superintendent Dai Davies, former head of the Royal Protection Squad in the UK. It started when PR staff at Government House and the Department of Internal Affairs (together with PR staff at Kensington Place) decided to stage a 9 day, 'whistle-stop' tour of New Zealand by William and Kate.
Nostalgic stories of previous royal visits have been appearing in magazines and the news media. Royal watchers are being encouraged to line the streets to see the couple. The visit is designed to promote royalty and use royal celebrity to promote New Zealand products and places. Part of the PR campaign has involved giving out detailed information on where the visitors will be and along which routes their cars will travel. The New Zealand Governor-General's twitter account has been used to send out information encouraging the public to be excited by the visit but the tweets in question are being written by members of the PR team and not by the Governor-General himself.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Dai Davies described whoever decided to release such detailed information as "an idiot" claiming it compromised the couple's security. He has since insisted that the Daily Mirror article quoted him out of context and it seems clear he was not directing his insult at the Governor-General. Our Prime Minister has now entered the debate claiming "that bloke's an idiot, the Governor-General certainly isn't". Former Chief Superintendent Davies could be right about the risks but his arguments have been refuted on the grounds that security for the visit has been cleared by Kensington Palace and the New Zealand Police.
What is unseemly about all this is that the Governor-General's twitter account should not have been used to promote the tour in the way it was. Our Prime Minister should have remained above the fray. The office of Governor-General is supposed to have a level of decorum and it needs to rethink its use of social media. The Prime Minister of New Zealand should not be getting involved and calling people names in a tit-for-tat argument. The royal 'celebrity head of state' road show is getting out of hand and New Zealand deserves better.