Peter Bromhead on cartoonists

by Peter Bromhead / 26 February, 2012
Why are politicians drawn to cartoonists?
I’ve been invited to Parliament on only two occasions in my long career. However, politicians have always been keen to meet me, misguidedly believing I might create more likeable caricatures than the ugly, distorted exaggerations that somehow seem to drip from my pen nib.

Their conceit was often amusing. I usually left them disappointed, and my excuse was always the same. “I’m sorry, Minister, I’m not actually an artist, that’s why my cartoons are so badly drawn.”
One minister suggested I take art classes, while another ­wondered aloud how I managed to get a job at all.

“I have friends in high places,” I whispered, conspiratorially. That wasn’t true, but it was a response a politician understands.

Hugh Watt seemed particularly worried that I was giving his Labour Government a hard time. “I know your parents well,” he muttered. “Your mother would be so ashamed of the scurrilous doodles you’re producing!” I reassured him that my mother and I had not been particularly friendly after she threw me off a double-decker bus when I was aged just three.

But my most memorable meeting was with Sir Keith Holyoake. He pretended he had never heard of me, then effusively praised the cartoons of my rival at the NZ Herald, Gordon Minhinnick. He also made a point of mentioning Minhinnick’s recent knighthood.

“Ah yes,” he noted grandly. “We all have a sense of humour in the National Party. That is, if it’s real family humour – not just malicious, spiteful stuff.”

Looking him in the eye, I responded: “Do you think my work’s spiteful?”

Holyoake looked surprised. “Let me assure you, young man, I’m not even aware of your cartoons.”

At that point, he abruptly stood, indicating the meeting was over, but once I reached the door, he called me back to his desk and casually offered me a box of Beehive matches.
“A small memento of the building being completed next door,” he said with a patronising smile.

In the corridor I ran into one of the press secretaries. “The bastard just gave me a box of matches as a gift,” I muttered.
“Don’t worry,” the flunky responded. “He’s given the same thing to foreign dignitaries. You’re privileged, particularly as he absolutely loathes your work.”
“But he told me he’s never heard of me!”
I protested.

“Trust me,” the flunky smiled. “He follows your cartoons daily.”
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

The clean-energy revolution is already under way
78094 2017-08-16 00:00:00Z Environment

The clean-energy revolution is already under way

by Rebecca Macfie

The question is whether it is accelerating fast enough to turn the tide on climate change.

Read more
Premature babies: The business of keeping tiny humans alive
78131 2017-08-16 00:00:00Z Science

Premature babies: The business of keeping tiny hum…

by Mava Enoka

Science is helping more premature babies survive, but for parents it's still a journey marked by fear, pain and joy.

Read more
Tim Minchin: The man behind Matilda’s musical magic
78107 2017-08-16 00:00:00Z Theatre

Tim Minchin: The man behind Matilda’s musical magi…

by Linda Herrick

A Roald Dahl fan from an early age, Australian composer Tim Minchin has helped turn a children’s classic into a hit musical.

Read more
HRT: The return of menopause therapy
78098 2017-08-16 00:00:00Z Health

HRT: The return of menopause therapy

by Nicky Pellegrino

Hormone treatment of menopause symptoms is back from exile.

Read more
Why NZ Super Fund is ditching millions worth of climate-damaging investments
78102 2017-08-15 14:46:41Z Investment

Why NZ Super Fund is ditching millions worth of cl…

by Rebecca Macfie

The New Zealand Super Fund has moved to reduce the risk of losses on fossil fuel assets, as part of its strategy on climate change.

Read more
Win a double pass to My Year with Helen
78081 2017-08-15 11:09:55Z Win

Win a double pass to My Year with Helen

by The Listener

Following its premiere screenings at the NZIFF, My Year With Helen returns to New Zealand cinemas for a general release.

Read more
Govt gives details for $100m mental health spend
78078 2017-08-15 11:04:37Z Health

Govt gives details for $100m mental health spend

by RNZ

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has given more details about where money earmarked for mental health will be spent.

Read more
How will DoC deal with the environmental pressures of runaway tourism?
78074 2017-08-15 10:32:53Z Business

How will DoC deal with the environmental pressures…

by Jonathan Underhill

The environmental pressures of runaway tourism and commercial land use aren’t fazing the country’s conservation chief.

Read more