Kev’s Patch – Rejected!

Here is a letter that I received from the Prime Ministers office about the Kev’s Patch Campaign that a few other bloggers and I are involved in. It is a resonable facimile with only my address being omitted.

Australian Government
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

15 July 2009
Dear Mr Gavin

Thank you for your letter of 4 June 2009 to the Prime Minister regarding a vegetable garden at The Lodge. I have been asked to reply on the Prime Minister’s behalf.

At this time there are no immediate plans to grow vegetables at The Lodge. While we acknowledge that there are many good reasons to do so, the lack of water in Canberra makes it impractical to undertake such a project. The grounds at The Lodge have already been affected by the water shortage and would be further compromised if water were redirected to the establishment of a new garden. There are however, existing fruit trees and herbs growing throughout the garden which are used in the house, as are flowers grown in the grounds.

The time you have taken to write to the Prime Minister is appreciated.

Yours sincerely

Suzanne de Smet
Assistant Director
Official Establishments Unit

Good on them for having fruit trees and a herb garden, however it is a bit disappointing to say the least, and I dare say that there are a few unhappy campers around with the same letter in their hands. A few apples and oranges and a bunch of herbs is not going to make much of an impression on the nation’s people. Most of the folk I know have at least some mint, parsley and a lemon tree down the back. A bit more effort please Mr Rudd.

Now I must say that the lack of water in Canberra is a pretty piss poor excuse on the PM’s behalf. If I can keep my veggie patch alive with water restrictions in place (watering for 1 hour, twice weekly) and got off my bum and put in a 2300L rain water tank, and sure the PM can spare a couple of thousand dollars of my tax payers money to buy The Lodge a few measly tanks. Not trying very hard me thinks! Set an example Mr Rudd and many others will follow.

What do you think of the result? It just makes me want to try harder, and now I am even more determined to increase the heat, so to speak.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. says

    Hi Gavin – I think Rudd is all talk and no action. He’s just a politician.

    Hey – why don’t you suggest that the next handout is a water tank handout? Then he can have a veggie patch – and no excuses!


    Water is one of the reasons we wanted to stay here in Otago when we came here. The grass grows – by itself, with no watering! I still think that seeing things grow is a magical experience. We need to learn to treasure our world a whole lot more.

  2. says

    Hi Gav, I got the exact same letter yesterday.

    Talk about a piss-poor excuse!

    I’m going to write back and set them straight.

    – Growing your own vegies uses 1/5th the water used to grow supermarket produce (source:

    – The Lodge has a massive roof area and plenty of space for rainwater tanks – perhaps Kev isn’t aware of the government rebates he could get for installing tanks?

    – The water shortage is a perfect opportunity to set up a demonstration garden to educate the public on water-wise vegie growing techniques.

    The “not enough water” excuse is so feeble as to be laughable. I’m sure they use sprinklers to keep all that lush lawn in tip-top condition!.

    I’m with you – this only spurs me on to work harder.

  3. says

    The Rudd Government’s performance on climate change has left me completely underwhelmed. The response to your campaign has done nothing to change that.

    Perhaps instead of growing flowers they can grow veges. As for their precious lawn, we all know it’s a waste of space.

    Instead of spending our money flying around the world trying to impress the leaders of other countries that money could be better spent on water tanks and a vege patch. Then Mr Rudd and associates can impress their constituents. You know, the people who they work for, the ones who put him in power.

    I’m sure there are plenty of highly productive gardens in Canberra that can be used as an example to educate the Prime Minister’s staff. I’m sure the owners wouldn’t mind giving a hand.

    Disappointing, Mr Rudd, again.

  4. says

    Got the same letter except that mine was Dear Ms Reid.

    Too hard for him I guess – too busy flying around the world lobbying for his next job with the United Nations. He could have made good brownie points by giving the produce to the homeless – but then I suppose he doesn’t want to admit such people exist. Maybe we should get Chaser on the Job!

  5. says

    Pretty disappointing and I agree- very poor excuse. Its all about priorities (or should be)
    I’m pleased you are not so disheartened to give up though … good on you- keep the pressure on!

  6. says

    you will have to get your heads together and think of some way of embarrassing the man. Maybe find someone in Canberra who has a successful garden against all the odds. But I know Gavin that you won’t let him get away with it.

    Have you managed to get the letter published in a national newspaper.


  7. says

    Now that is a great idea Margaret. I will enquire tomorrow.

    Thanks to everyone else for your thoughtful comments. Time to regroup and plan our next battle!


  8. says

    Actually, I think we have to respect people’s home boundaries on this. While the PM does live in taxpayer funded accommodation, it still is his home. He should be able to decide how he lives in it, without people making it a political agenda.

    I’m not happy with how the government has acted on certain environmental policies either, but that politics. I’m sure if the PM started installing rainwater tanks and decking out the Lodge in new green technology, the Opposition would start pointing the finger at the PM directly.

    They would start making comparisons that while the PM has used exclusive taxpayers funds to deck out his home, struggling ordinary families have to pay for his indulgence while doing without themselves.

    I’m sure the PM cops enough critics for the policies he has out already, let alone bringing them to his backyard where his family lives.

    Yes he is our National Leader and he eats, breathes and composts politics on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s just nice to come home, be with your family and unwind.

    Some people’s idea of unwinding is tending the garden, other’s is a relaxing dinner with family and putting your feet up on the sofa.

    Don’t we all reserve the right to decide how we want to relax in our own homes?

  9. says

    I think what we expect from elected officials in a democracy depends on what they said when they were touting for votes. If an elected official has promoted green issues before election I think the public have a right to expect them to live and act on those issues.


  10. says

    Politicians enable voters to make a choice, and Kev gave us more than the Liberals were offering with environmental issues. I think on that score, he did his job exceptionally well. Australians have now benefitted from his government’s, “more greener than the Liberals”, policies. 😉

    When the man goes home though, isn’t he allowed to decide for himself how he spends his time?

    That doesn’t mean the “Kev’s Patch” dream has to die though. It can be a virtual aspiration to encourage other Aussies to grow their own backyard patch, instead.

    I wonder if the PM’s office would recieve an invitation to comment on the virtual Kev’s Patch website? Perhaps recommending the PM’s favourite 3 veg for dinner or even have a competition where the PM picks the best Aussie Veg Patch photograph – prize to be donated by the Kev’s Patch website creators.

    There are more ways to get the PM’s influence to encourage Aussie’s to grow stuff. Maybe address his job rather than his home life. Politicians love free plugs and an opportunity to spread their influence to the masses.

    Maybe the PM could participate in a virtual “Kev’s Patch” rather than a real life one? Who knows, you may influence him in a positive way so that when he’s a retired polician (like Bob Hawke & Paul Keating) he’ll tout the wonders of finally growing veggies at home, now that he has the time. :)

  11. says

    Yup, same letter. Sigh.

    Especially crapped off after reading that the British PM Gordon Brown is now growing HIS own vegies… C’mon Kevin, get with the times!!

Comments build lively communities. Let me know your thoughts, but keep it clean and green! Spam is removed instantly.