PM vows to remain our humble servant

Dear John, It's hard isn't it, maintaining humility in the face of applause and adoring fans?

I felt that last week at the bowling club.

True, our music group members possibly outnumbered the applauders (and I am not sure there was anyone resembling an adoring fan) but briefly I knew I and my coconut shells were destined for greatness. Nothing to do with the glass of wine I consumed between sets, I'm sure.

Given that you are slightly more popular than I am, it's great to see you have said , in reference to your MPs and ministers this term, ''I won't be wanting to see any hint of arrogance creeping in''.

I am not sure where that leaves some of your ministers - Judith and Tony won't be there, of course - but aren't there others in the old gang who have demonstrated they haven't got very far into the ''hu'' section in the dictionary of life?

Among them are Gerry, Amy, Hekia, Stephen, Nick, Anne, Murray, Simon, Paula and Chris.

Maybe they've been too busy for dictionary-reading, or perhaps some lowly office staffer, jaded and over-worked supplying tips to bloggers, spilled white-out on that bit after ''hubris'' and up to and including ''humility''.

It might not have done your ministers any harm ignoring such words as huckster, hue and cry, huff, hullabaloo, and humiliate, but it could be helpful for them to understand humanity, humble, humble pie, humbug and humility.

Does this anti-arrogance mean your lot will become adept at listening to scientists and others giving reasoned advice?

Will those who say things you don't want to hear - such as Dr Mike Joy talking about the impact of more dairy farms , Prof Doug Sellman on the fallout from big booze or Sir Alan Mark on matters botanical - be treated respectfully ?

Will you be ensuring all staff steer well clear of any association with extremist bloggers who indulge in nasty character assassination of people just doing their jobs?

Will it mean an end to pushing through legislation under urgency when the only reason for that seems to be that you know best? (To bring yourself down to the ground, remember you only have 48% of the love, since more than half of voters didn't party-vote National.)

Will you stop the game-playing over the Official Information Act where, unless your name is Cameron Slater, some officials delay responding to requests as long as they can and give spurious reasons for refusing information because they know it will take too long for the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate any breach?

You say agencies take their responsibilities under the OIA very seriously, but have you actually checked?

Knowing your government's love of targets , I asked some years ago if there were KPIs (key performance indicators for the non-jargon inclined) for compliance with the OIA within government departments and was told there were not and it would be far too difficult.

Accordingly, I trust you have warmly welcomed the news from chief ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem there will be an inquiry into the OIA practices of government agencies.

She was reportedly appalled by the claim made by former high-ranking Customs department lawyer Curtis Gregorash he was told to refuse Official Information Act and Privacy Act requests.

I know you told The New Zealand Herald his claims had been rejected by the Crown Law office, you hadn't been fully briefed, there was an employment dispute and you weren't going to pass judgement - ''all I know is it's 24 hours before an election'' - but have you been thinking about it post-election?

Have you now been fully briefed, or is it safer not to know too much? Isn't it wonderful those fickle political journos are off your back?

The one-scent wonder has now spent more than a week sniffing out anything to do with the leadership of the Labour Party, even though most of us couldn't care less.

Eventually, when the pack has bored us rigid and interviewed every Labour Party member in the country, news hounds might start twitching their noses at the Government.

I wonder if anyone will ask why it is taking so long for the Civil Aviation Authority to investigate Gerry's alleged breach of airport security on July 24?

I was told last week not to expect anything before the end of October.

Curious, when an independent review of security at the Ashburton Winz office took less than a month.

In the meantime John, keep up the humility. I know I am. To make sure, I'm suggesting the music group's next number should be that Mac Davis classic beginning ''Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, when you're perfect in every way ...''

Sing it loud, John.

Elspeth McLean is a Dunedin writer.

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