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Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Williamson misses out on date with Ellen

National MP Maurice Williamson has lost out on the chance to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show because of creative differences and time.

Mr Williamson was invited to appear after host Ellen DeGeneres saw his speech on the same-sex marriage bill, but a publicist for the show confirmed to the Herald yesterday that Mr Williamson would now not appear.

"Ellen did love Maurice's speech but due to the show ending its season we were not able to make it work out logistically."

The show's season is due to end on May 23 and the new season will not start until September.

Mr Williamson said that despite weeks of phone calls with Ellen's producers, they could not agree on timing and the format. He said he was not disappointed.

"Not really. It wasn't anything I'd ever wanted specifically. The best question I had over this thing was from Sean Plunket and he asked if this was the greatest example in the world of the law of unintended consequences."

Last week, he had said the value of promoting New Zealand as a good place for gay people to visit on the show would be worth more than the $158 million in extra funding tagged for tourism in the Budget this week.

However, he had wanted the focus to be on New Zealand, rather than himself.

"But they are keen for it to be about me and want me featuring and dancing, and I kept saying I don't want it to be about me. They said, 'We're about people, not about countries'."

Mr Williamson was the surprise hit of the same-sex marriage debate, delivering a speech in which he lampooned the arguments put up by the bill's opponents.

Ellen had tweeted a link to his speech, describing it as "powerful, compassionate and hilarious".

YouTube videos of the speech attracted more than 1.3 million views.

- NZ Herald

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