Political diary

By Audrey Young


It has long been accepted that the one area in which politicians can tell porkies without too much comeback is over leadership coups. To that must now be added visits to Afghanistan. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully issues a statement saying he has just marked Anzac Day with Defence Forces in Bamyan province. Which is some distance from the other parts of the UAE, the destination he gave when asked where he was headed last week after Dubai.


Health Minister Tony Ryall calls the second press conference to reveal that a group of students are suspected of having swine flu. Director of Public Health Mark Jacobs uses the occasion to give some tips to avoid the spread of flu. Wash your hands after sneezing is normal enough, but "wash your hands before smoking a cigarette" seems slightly incongruous advice from the public health honcho.


Lewis Holden is announced as the new chief executive of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. It is a familiar name to journalists who receive regular press releases from the Republican Movement. Fortunately for relations between the Government and the public service, Lewis David Holden the chief executive is not the same as Lewis Joseph Holden the agitator and they are not related.

Holden the CEO is deputy secretary of the economic strategy branch at the Ministry of Economic Development. Coincidentally, Holden the younger got a part-time job at the MED when he was student and found out about his namesake when he found out his email address was already taken.


Labour deputy Annette King reveals in a speech at Michael Cullen's post-valedictory speech function that some of the most special times she has had with her colleague of many years has been recently, as his landlady in her Wellington house, which they share with Labour senior whip Darren Hughes. Hughes as MC at the function says that the occasion has been so special that he would like to order bacon and eggs for breakfast from the landlady, which she duly delivers - sunny side up.


Treasury announces that Mike Munro - former press secretary to Helen Clark - will be its communications manager. It's not quite the same as working for Finance Minister Bill English but Munro's talents in public relations and the importance of Treasury in the global recession can only help the Government. And even if anyone in Government did have misgivings, they could hardly express them after the fuss made in Opposition about political interference by ministers in the Environment Ministry posts.

- NZ Herald

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