This week Beehive Diaries farewells a prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, who handed over the reins to Chris Hipkins, or “Chippy” as he’s better known about the place.
Beehive Diaries is also in the position to reveal (with permission) a secret the Prime Minister has kept for her final months in Wellington.
Ardern has kept a secret cat, called “Biggie” at Premier House, the Prime Minister’s official residence in Wellington.
Ardern is thought to have wanted to keep Biggie’s existence quiet for perception reasons.
Premier House backs on to Te Ahumairangi Hill, a beautiful section of Wellington’s town belt and home to native wildlife. Beehive Diaries has heard that there were fears that some people (we’re looking at you Gareth Morgan) might have voiced disgruntlement over someone keeping a predator, like Biggie (who actually seems lovely and docile), in the region.
Heeding these concerns, Ardern was understood to keep Biggie inside, but there were fears that even this would not be enough to placate critics, who might have thought it cruel to keep an animal inside for so much of its life (despite Premier House being one of the most enormous residences in Wellington).
So Biggie stayed secret and inside, living out a feline retelling of Jane Eyre, perhaps (we hope not).
Ardern was braced to discuss Biggie’s existence only if it were revealed by the cat sauntering into one of her livestreams.
Biggie isn’t Ardern’s first cat. Ardern and fiance Clarke Gayford owned “Paddles” until she was run over by a car in November 2017, shortly after Ardern became Prime Minister.
Like Paddles, Biggie is a polydactyl (a cat that has extra toes on its feet).
Beehive Diaries wishes the first family - all four of them - well.
Jet fuel in the tank
Ardern is not the only denizen of Molesworth St. to pack it in this year.
Longtime Act Party chief press secretary and acting chief of staff Rachel Morton has also decided to seek pastures new.
Morton is well-known on precinct, having served in Steven Joyce’s office in Government. She became Simon Bridges’ chief press secretary and stayed in that job until the moment Bridges was rolled.
After the 2020 election, she returned to Parliament as Act’s press secretary and has masterminded the party’s rejuvenated, snappy response to anything and everything.
She’s heading to Air New Zealand - and assures Beehive Diaries she has plenty of fuel in the tank. Jet fuel, even.