The Diary
Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Gore fest or bore fest?

Green contingent suitably impressed, others not so enamoured with former VP

AUT's Penelope Barr-Sellers (left) and Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater with Al Gore. Photo / Simon Watts
AUT's Penelope Barr-Sellers (left) and Vivien Sutherland Bridgwater with Al Gore. Photo / Simon Watts

Actress Lucy Lawless and Greenpeace activist Bunny Mcdiarmid started the standing ovation. They were suitably impressed with the warblings of environmentalist Al Gore at the black-tie dinner hosted in his honour on Friday night.

Others weren't quite so enamoured with the former VP. "Gore the bore preached like an evangelist minister," said one prominent TV type. Earlier MC John Campbell had requested Chatham House rules. He needn't have bothered. Unlike Alan Jones, Gore revealed nothing inflammatory or delicate in his 30-minute sermon.

Labour MP David Parker jumped to attention at question time, inquiring about sustainability that had Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner stifling yawns.

It was hard to see what his leader, David Shearer, was thinking - he was sitting so far back. NZ First leader Winston Peters, by contrast, had a seat at a $12,000 platinum VIP table but never showed up. Perhaps the late-night DJing gig at a Ponsonby night club last week took its toll.

Beatrice Faumuina, celebrity chef Josh Emmett and designers Karen Walker and Yvonne Bennetti were there, so too was former MP Simon Power. He is the head of Westpac's private banking and the bank spent big bucks to sponsor the glamorous fundraising dinner in support of AUT University.

The gods must be crazy

NZ on Air has made a bizarre decision to fund a third series of The Almighty Johnsons, despite news last month the Nordic Gods had been cancelled.

The show was launched on TV3 last year, but a second series this year was down 150,000 viewers, and the show was canned by TV3 last month. But that was reversed this week.

The decision to re-fund the daft and unpopular series comes at a cost of nearly $7 million for New Zealand on Air.

Was it really convinced by an adhoc online media campaign to bring it back? Insiders credit South Pacific Pictures' dominance and the influence of a former TV3 programming boss Kelly Martin after being recently appointed executive at SPP.

SPP, part owned by a British media giant, has four primetime drama productions in funding - The Almighty Johnsons, Go Girls, The Blue Rose and Nothing Trivial.

TV3 is now home to three local television drama series (The Almighty Johnsons, The Blue Rose and Hope and Wire), while the enormous pull of state broadcaster TVNZ - with two networks - has only two local drama series (Go Girls and Nothing Trivial).

PM and the Tory tots

Well-chiselled thespians let their hair down at the Spartacus wrap party at Imperial Lane on Saturday night, but across town at The Langham, an assembly of Tories posed and preened for the cameras at the Young Nats Ball.

Leading the modelling was the Godfather of Blue, Prime Minister John Key.

He joined the Tory tots in a collection of photos, from pulling bunnies' ears to puckering up to young lovelies. "It was at their request," he laughed.

Key told The Diary the $100-a-plate dinner was a "fun night" out. "The future of the party is in great hands."

Sunday not roasted

A television talent quest may currently dominate TVNZ's Sunday night landscape, but the state broadcaster (makers of NZ's Got Talent) insists it is loyal to current affairs show Sunday.

An email to staff on Friday from boss Kevin Kenrick said: "We are committed to leading current affairs in New Zealand. Sunday is our flagship show.

"There are no plans to exit Sunday," he said.

Ross Dagan, TVNZ's head of news, told The Diary: "Sunday's future is secure.

"We are absolutely committed to it returning to its usual format.

"We are absolutely committed to long form current affairs on TVNZ," he said.

- NZ Herald

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