Saturday 22 September 2007

Mmmmmm - Big Kev dines big time

Last week, CairnsBlog was the first and only voice in Cairns to announce that your Mayor and his entourage were jetting off to China for the 7th time in as many years, on your rates.

However, with respect to other traditional media, they didn't get notification of his trip until the day he walked on Cathay Pacific flight CX102 last Saturday afternoon direct to Honkers. Nor were his (our) Councillors aware of Kevin's movements.

KB says that he “makes no excuse for flying the flag for Cairns in what is the largest marketplace on earth.” We couldn't agree more. However, where's the actual outcomes of more than 7 years of trips and numerous Council-funded "trade missions"? Why do you deliver your China reports in Closed Sessions on your return? Is it essential that the Mayor goes on every trip, every time?

More than seven years on and KB still talks about the “potential for trade and business links" between Cairns and China. He also talks about the 'dividends ' we have received. What are they Kevin? I asked four Councillors, and they all shared grave concerns on the real motivations to this excessive travel to China by the Mayor. "We never hear really what goes on" said one City Councillor, that wished to remain off the record when she spoke with CairnsBlog yesterday.

"I find the whole [China] thing a bit too much to stomach" said another male Councillor. I mean, show me the results. The achievements, beside a bloody garden."

Byrne justifies his whole China addiction: "You cannot do business with China unless you are on the ground in China, because the Chinese have to know you well before they will sit down at the business table."

Our spy, 'The Good Doctor' is travelling in Shanghai, China, and sent us these pics overnight.

He was on the lookout for some big business deals being done between Cairns and Chinese officials, under the guise of Advance Cairns. Did you know the Mayor approved over quarter of a million dollars of our Rates to this quango in the last twelve months. Anyway, we've got a nice garden out of it. He's going to officially open this coming Wednesday. Not a bad achievement, after 7 and a half years on. In fact, he's set aside the whole day to open our 'Friendship Garden'. I suspect KB's expecting a lot of his friends to be there.

Rumours have done the round at Spence Street offices for over a year now that this is all being set up for his next move, depending on the way the local body election goes.

Our spy couldn't see an imported Palm Tree in sight. However, he did see our Mayor, who he informed us, "stood out like a [arrogant] bull in a China shop". His words, not ours.

Your Mayor has just dined at M on the Bund, probably Shanghai's most exclusive, and certainly one of the most expensive. Departure Magazine said M is "a dining institution .. it pioneered high-end dining in Shanghai.” You can't even access the mag's website without your AMEX Platinum number.

It's about 100mts along on the left in this photo.

China is now deeply ingrained in the Mayor focus and personal radar, and this has been the case for a number of years now. It's believed he's a director of a Shanghai company, along with the Mayor's personal assistant, Dennis Quick.

Kev went to dinner with his old mate, David Maguire, former CEO of Advance Cairns, along with
Commissioner Zijian Zhang, a trade and investment officer, and Wendy Levy, from Tourism Queensland.

After his stint at Advance Cairns, Maquire moved to China early this year, to become an editor of a local newspaper in Shanghai. His annual AC $100K+ salary and numerous trips to China on behalf of Cairns City Council, no doubt helped set up future opportunities for him.

Here's the view across the street from the restaurant.

Our Doctor chatted to the M reception and they passed on to CairnsBlog what your Mayor dined on on Friday evening:-

Seared tuna rolled in sesame seeds and pounded bottarga, served with a salad of spiced fried eggplants
128 Chinese yuan = $19.78 AUD

Hot house-smoked salmon on a sauté of new potatoes, celery hearts and black olives served with a classic vermouth sauce

$38 AUD

Grand Dessert Platter,~ Hot passion fruit soufflé, the last Governor’s trifle,
cherry and almond tart with a swirl of ice cream, baklava and ice cream slice with a
poached peach, apple beignet, a piece of Pavlova and sorbets

$20 AUD

The meal prices are above average prices, however one expects the entire tab would have been picked up for the entire delegation by the ratepayers of Cairns.

It's well-known amongst Cairns City Councillors, that when there needs to be a top up of funds at Advance Cairns for a "trade mission" to China, a few K is zapped across and it's not directly attached to the Mayor's travel funds, merely as "investment in Advance Cairns".

We were not able to discover what wines were consumed, however a bottle of Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot is a cool $150, or a bottle of Grande Cuvée Krug will set you back $387. An Aussie '90 Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz is a whopping $1,043.

Here's M's full menu and wine list, and as you'll see, most are around $140 / bottle. 20% tip is the standard and expected.

Here's a couple pix of Shanghai, just to show you some holiday snaps of the Shanghai business district, near the Radisson Plaza Xing Guo Hotel where Kev stayed. I doubt our good Mayor will bring any pix back to share with those that paid for his holiday. What a spoilsport. I mean, it's like a big brother going on a big OE and not letting you in on who he shagged.

Kev flys back into town next Sunday morning. We need someone with a Ute to pop out to the airport to pick him up. Are you free? Bring a rickshaw to carry our prezzies.

He's then got another week off work, to recover from his "trade misson". Oh, it's a tough life.


Anonymous said...

When KB goes to China does he remember to take a towel with him? Though I'd imagine there would be plenty of towels for him in China, Eh?

Anonymous said...

Your comments on the mayor seem extraordinarily and needlessly personal. Apparently you have no real "facts" to deal with - we already get it, you don't like him traveling. But he's away and what, he's not supposed to eat? Have some respect for people, starting with yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes al, he is meant to eat, however do you really feel that he needs to do it in 5 star style?

And paying for it with our rate money ?

The simple answer is NO NO NO !!

Do we need a mayor who is so flashy with our money ?


Could you afford to eat there? I know that I would have to think twice about those prices.

There are far more reasonably priced dining establishments for him to eat, and entertain his guests.

Anonymous said...

Of course *I* can afford to eat there. I WANT a Mayor out looking for 5-Star investors in Cairns. That's the problem with hillbilly north Queenslanders - small town thinkers that don't every get anything done. Seems to be a problem with the imported Kiwis too.

And if you look at the prices in this so-called luxury restaurant, they're not that high - - plenty of upscale restaurants in Cairns charge much more. Guess you and Moore are Rex Burger guys, too bad for you you're missing a good part of life.

Anonymous said...

Oh please ....clifton beach rich are a moron.

Yes I too can afford to dine at M, and dine regularly at Cairns restaurants , however am sensible enough to look for value for money.

No I am a just a hard working business owner in Cairns, and I resent that my rates etc are being used by an arrogant mayor to dine there. You should also resent this. Yes we do need quality investors and business opportunities for us all, but there are better ways ways to go about it, than spending needlessly on gourmet dinners and staying in 5 star hotels.

Unfortunately I have not dined at Rexs Burger Bar, and have no idea if Mr Moore has, however I guess the owners of Rex would not welcome your suggesting that they are terribly downmarket. They apparently run a great business with a fabulous reputation.

While you are slagging kiwis off, you might stop to think that Mr Moore actually started this blog...something that you didnt do, so pull your head in.

Anonymous said...

Now kiddies settle down and play nicely. Clifton Beach guy - I am sure you are a 'recent' arrival and probably still don't realise that a lot of us 'oldies' don't want to see our town desecrated by self serving, greedy politicians and we have had past mayors who realised there was more to it than a grab for the buck. Leave that to the Gold/Sunshine Coast. Most new arrivals to Cairns that I have met came here to get away from that crap.

Oh and I fully endorse the quality of the Rex BB's Burgers. It's one of those many 'little' things that makes living in Cairns worthwhile.

If that's small town thinkng - bring it on!

Anonymous said...

This bloke is asking for a burger and says to the cook-"Before you start can I make some special requests?" "No worries" says the cook.
Bloke says"I want you to barely toast the bun-then I want you to put only the ends of the tomato in it along with a half cooked egg, bacon that's mostly rind and enough sauce to drown in and give it to me cold!"
"I can't do that!" cook replies indignantly.
Bloke says"Why not? You did yesterday!"

Anonymous said...

I wonder if FatArse Mayor Byrne has dined at Rexs?

Anonymous said...

Actually, Rex's Burger Bar has been around for some 50 years I think. It is an icon of Cairns, and has been running since the Rex cinema was running. I have been told the entire story before, but dont remember it well enough to tell it on here.
Their burgers are the best in queensland. The Owners are LOCALS ... odd word that here in Cairns.... their Staff are locals too .. still sounds odd ... and the owners are just a good old fashioned hard working 7 day a week couple. I think, that, Maybe Mr Byrnes should get them to make a couple dozen burgers to take to China on one of his Jaunts, and give them to the Chinese business people. Maybe they would be interested in contacting the owners of Rex's and start a franchise in china, the profits of which would come back to Cairns. Could be a better idea than a Garden .. and it brings money back to a Cairns local ... it still sounds funny. .

Anonymous said...

I don't give a rats what the Mayor ate on his trip to China.
What I do CARE about is the Mayor and City Councils approach to "free trade".

Let's see....we already have lipsticks coming in from China loaded with lead, textiles laced with formaldehyde, clutch pads and brakes made with asbestos, toys being re-called and almost weekly, foodstuffs manufactured either in China or Asia, being recalled.

Oh...the latest is Johnsons baby powder made in China which causes bad rashes in babies.

Oh, yes, this free trade is great, isn't it Kev and Council??

(Yes, I can hear Kev and some of his Councillors laughing and laughing at this in the Council Chamber. I can see the tears in their eyes as they recounted someone mentioning that baby powder made in China gave babies bad rashes. "Oh, geez we larfed, ayy. Oh Christ, it was so funny.")

I pray to God Kev himself has some of those asbestos riddled clutch pads and brake linings; his shirts are mixed with formeldyhyde and he makes damn sure he sprinkles himself with Johnsons baby powder.

The chances are he and his family have already consumed dangerous imported products. Being the fool he is, he wouldn't even understand.

Anonymous said...

What's the betting Kev raises this about the baby powder on that MORON - "weapons of mass destruction" - John MacKenzie's radio show?

(Wonder if MacKenzie is still looking for those WMD'S?)