The Diary: Key pins down pearler of a pre-election coup

The Queen wore the blue pearl and gold brooch at a private reception last week.
The Queen wore the blue pearl and gold brooch at a private reception last week.

In a sign of right royal approval, the Queen chose to wear jewellery given by Prime Minister John Key at a private reception she hosted last week for Commonwealth nations in Buckingham Palace.

It is sure to infuriate Labour leader David Cunliffe, who's worried a royal visit next year by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince George, is just a photo opportunity that would benefit the Government in an election year.

He hadn't anticipated a sartorial endorsement by the Queen herself.

Wearing the blue pearl brooch for the first time in public, the Queen hosted the Buckingham Palace reception to celebrate the Commonwealth "family of nations" ahead of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Sri Lanka next week.

The pearl and gold broach from John Key to the Queen.
The pearl and gold broach from John Key to the Queen.

The brooch was personally selected by Key and presented as a hospitality thank you after his stay in Balmoral.

Grown at the Akaroa Eyris Blue Pearl Farm, the 15mm pearl was named "Aotearoa's pearl" and set in a brooch with diamond petals and brushed gold koru, designed and made by Joachim van Oostrum.

"The Queen was chuffed to receive it," Key told The Diary yesterday. "It was of special significance given the pearl was harvested and the brooch was made in Christchurch. The Queen has been deeply moved by the courage and resilience of Cantabrians."

He wasn't surprised the she chose to wear it at a party for Commonwealth dignitaries given its special meaning.

The Queen's Jewel Vault, a blog dedicated to the regal gems, declared the sartorial endorsement a major coup. "It's the first public appearance of the New Zealand Blue Pearl Brooch, given to Her Majesty in September.

A Commonwealth event debut, well played".

NZ national costume is ... a fishing net?

Who needs Halloween when you have the Miss Universe national costume competition?

The National Costume Show on Sunday, a preliminary runway event to the Miss Universe pageant held this weekend in Russia, was a battle of beauty queen ambassadors showcasing their home country with elaborate and often symbolically bizarre costumes. It's patriotism turned bonkers.

Miss USA represented her country as a Transformer, because evidently Michael Bay's hit franchise films evoke all that is America. Miss Sweden channelled a sexy Viking, while neighbour Miss Denmark oozed a mermaid minx. Miss Great Britain "wore royal robes so sexy we bet even Prince Philip would have a thing or two to say," observed the Huffington Post.

However, Miss New Zealand, Holly Cassidy, opted for a more prudent depiction of our country with a black web-like sheath encrusted with feathers and baubles. Was it a sartorial shout out to fishing nets and our marine industry?

Rachel Hunter says 'enough already' over the ongoing mayor saga.
Rachel Hunter says 'enough already' over the ongoing mayor saga.

South African Ankia van der Berg, the designer of the gown, told The Diary she spent three days making the dress and wanted to depict a "sophisticated" New Zealand.

"A lot of the costumes look like Las Vegas, so I wanted to show the beauty of New Zealand and its uniqueness. I used black lace and jet crystals. The All Blacks are there because the gown is black, the feathers represent the kiwi, and the necklace on the back has a Maori fern logo and a cross to tie in with the anthem, God Defend New Zealand."

Failing to heed own advice

Before the Labour conference took place last weekend, chief whip Sue Moroney took it upon herself to text all MPs on Friday to tell them to dress sharply for the leader's speech on Saturday. However, not one to take such advice too kindly, the story goes that a certain resentful MP, upon seeing the less-than-sartorial elegance of Moroney herself on Saturday, said to her: "Oh, I see you were joking with your text."

Rachel's had enough

Rachel Hunter, meanwhile, took to Twitter on Sunday night to slate the attention mayoral mistress Bevan Chuang was receiving on TV One's current affairs show Sunday.

"Hmmm this interview ... To [sic] much air time on this affair. Don't give attention to bad behaviour," she tweeted disapprovingly adding the hash tag "nobodysbusiness".

Rachel Hunter says 'enough already' over the ongoing mayor saga.
Rachel Hunter says 'enough already' over the ongoing mayor saga.

Our Rach may be a judge on New Zealand's Got Talent, but she rarely passes moral judgment on the behaviour of others. However, the 44-year-old divorcee had clearly had enough of the network's interview. Her family show was up next. Fun, laughter and dubious talent was on the menu - not the morally bankrupt conduct of political somebodies and wannabes.

Flak jacket needed

First it was Paul Henry taking the mickey out of Mike McRoberts and his penchant for flak jackets. Now lawyer Linda Clark has criticised the TV3 newsreader for his report Monday on disabled Kiwi athletes running in the New York marathon.

McRoberts, who ran with blind athlete Mike Lloyd, delivered an emotional account, signing off: "They come here with disabilities, but they leave feeling like full human beings".

Taking to Twitter, Clark retorted: "Note to Mike McRoberts. People with disabilities ARE 'full human beings' full stop. Sheesh. Mike McRoberts may need that flak jacket after all".

Appropriate theme music

Parliament can be such a cruel, base sandpit. So, spare a thought for the political darling who left their spouse and, some months later, has taken up with a relative - a first cousin, so the rumour goes.

Colleagues have apparently marked the move by adapting their ringtone when said politico calls to the duelling banjos of Deliverance in a palpable reference to inbred hillbillies.

- NZ Herald

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