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Shearing challenge to Burton Shipley

Nov 15, 1999

Shearing challenge to Burton Shipley

Harry Parke, husband of Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has challenged Prime Minister's Spouse Burton Shipley to a shearing competition, to take place on Wednesday November 17 in the Coromandel.

Mr Parke issued the shearing challenge, called the "Premier Shears", to Mr Shipley after hearing that Prime Minister Jenny Shipley was visiting the Coromandel on that day.

Mr Parke referred to the three female political leaders in New Zealand, saying it was time for their spouses to take a more active role in the campaign.

"It can get a bit tedious, following the leader as it were and listening to speeches. It's time for us to inject a bit of humour into the proceedings."

Mr Parke got the idea after seeing Mr Shipley on television, demonstrating shearing for the wives of the APEC leaders.

"Mr Shipley's spot of shearing at the APEC conference was certainly a highlight of that event, but I doubt the APEC leaders' wives offered him much competition," said Mr Parke.

Ms Fitzsimons' husband is a former Golden Shears quarter-finalist who has shorn over half a million sheep. He was a professional shearer for 20 years and still shears up to 3000 sheep a year. He won many prizes in competition shearing during the 1960s and 1970s, and was considered one of the top ten New Zealand shearers during the 1970s.

The venue of the competition will be either Paeroa or Waihi, and each contestant will have to shear five sheep. An official judge will oversee the premiere competition of the Premier Shears.

Letter follows

Paul Bensemann Press Secretary 021 214 2665

Kauaeranga Valley Road RD2 Thames

Nov 15, 1999

Dear Burton,

From one party leader spouse to another, I think we can agree that follow-the-leader, as it were, can wear a little thin in the entertainment stakes. Let's make it a bit more fun.

Your spot of shearing at the APEC conference was certainly a highlight of that event, but I doubt the APEC leaders' wives offered you much competition.

In the interests of keeping the election interesting, I challenge you to a shear-off during the Prime Minister's visit to Coromandel on Wednesday November 17th - the venue to be either Paeroa or Waihi, depending on the weather and local contractor's arrangements. Each of us has to shear five sheep under normal shed conditions and shearing competition rules, and I will arrange an official and unbiased judge.

I understand the Prime Minister's schedule requires her to be in Katikati in the morning, and Thames in the evening. I welcome you both to our town, and look forward to the premiere competition of the "Premier Shearer" award.

Regards,

Harry Parke
07 8686641
07 8685526 fa

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