When journalist Ian Wishart unfolded a letter from the Ministry for the Environment he started to laugh.
"New Zealand needs people like you who contribute every day to protecting and enhancing our environment," read the letter telling him he had been nominated for a "Green Ribbon Award".
An author of two books rejecting man-made climate change, Mr Wishart was the last person to expect to be praised by the ministry.
Its awards praise "outstanding contributions" to "protecting and enhancing New Zealand's environment". Mr Wishart's books aim to debunk climate change with theories out of step with the ministry.
Mr Wishart has dismissed the praise as a form letter.
"The last time the Ministry for the Environment and I engaged, I was booted out of a press conference."
The ministry was not amused. A spokesman said Mr Wishart's nomination failed to proceed to the next round.
The nomination was made by "David Slack". The satirist and speech writer of that name said he was not responsible for the nomination.
"I wish I'd thought of it."