The Insider

What they're whispering about in Parliament...

The Insider: Back to the future

It's the Qantas flight attendant uniform... but not as we know it, Jim.
It's the Qantas flight attendant uniform... but not as we know it, Jim.

Qantas introduces its new uniforms next week, amid concerns that they are too tight and too "Trekkie". Unions have reportedly asked for tweaks to the Martin Grant-designed uniforms, unveiled by Qantas ambassador Miranda Kerr in September. The uniforms also attracted attention at the recent National Aviation Press Club journalism awards in Sydney, where one of the talking points was their resemblance to the outfits worn aboard the Starship Enterprise. One flight attendant said they may look great on Kerr "but unfortunately we don't all look like her", and complained that they were too tight for the job. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has dismissed the critics, saying "I've never had anybody say something can be too sexy". One flight attendant spoken to by the Insider said she and her colleagues were looking forward to the big day - but then, she'd been on a diet.

Right time, right place

The invitation to take part in the G20 meetings next year as Australia's little brother is good timing for New Zealand. Getting a seat at the big table as the country seeks a United Nations Security Council seat can only be a good thing.

The G20 has its critics, as it includes so many countries that it is almost impossible to get agreement on the big issues, but being included is a lot better than being left out. The G20 meetings have become a target for protests by a wide range of political movements so it will be interesting to see how Australia handles the security issues that have been a headache for other host nations.

Higher power

Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor's return to form gave the New Zealand cricket team its best two days in a test for some time. But Simon Bridges would like people to note that this coincided with him becoming acting Minister of Sport while Murray McCully is out of the country.

Let them eat cakes

What do Labour MPs have to celebrate a by-election victory when they gather for a caucus meeting? Lamingtons. Red ones.

Farewell gift

Associate Tourism Minister Chris Tremain's upcoming retirement from Parliament has clearly not got him too offside with his ministerial colleagues, as they approved him getting the plum job of representing the Government at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug world premiere in Los Angeles. Not many visitors from Hawkes Bay get to walk the Hollywood red carpet.

The Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station owned by Mighty River Power, whose falling share price is likely to weigh on Genesis Energy. PICTURE / APN

Sad news for print-lovers and legislation geeks: the Parliamentary Counsel Office is ceasing publication of annual bound volumes of legislation after this year's volumes are printed, and traditional hard-copy reprints once the current programme is completed. The website legislation.govt.nz will be the source of official legislation, and physical copies will be available via a print-on-demand service. The beautifully bound versions will no longer be produced, though booklet versions of legislation will be available.

Language barrier

An Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Gisborne last month was almost exclusively Maori, the seats filled by people going to the Maori Language Awards that evening. Luminaries aboard included broadcaster Carol Hirschfeld and the Maori Party's Pita Sharples. So it seems a pity the cabin crew couldn't come up with a word of te reo - not even a "kia ora". Must have made those passengers feel really mokemoke.

Decisions, decisions...

With the end-of-year function season in full swing, those on the diplomatic circuit have had to make tough calls. Diplomats in Wellington had to choose between the farewell function for the retiring, and very popular, US Ambassador David Huebner at a bar, or the Japanese Embassy's celebration of Japan's national day. Some did the diplomatic thing, and whisked between the two.

Another Wellington function was the celebration of Nicholas Bagnall's 20 years at ACC, including 10 years running its investment portfolio. ACC's above-benchmark returns have earned the taxpayer millions, and few begrudge the remuneration Bagnall and his team get. But when it came to the celebratory drinks, frugality meant the corporation didn't stump up and he had to pay himself.

Think small

Foreigners reading the news from New Zealand must think the country is even smaller than it is. A Bloomberg news agency story this week excitedly announced that the NZX plans to hire five - yes, a whole five - people in Auckland, amid record trading volume. The real news was the NZX's expansion in Auckland - from one staffer 12 months ago to 15 now and 20 by the end of next year.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 27 Dec 2014 19:21:00 Processing Time: 413ms