PUFFED UP

As Labour begins the long process of rebuilding, it seems other people are having trouble coming to terms with the election outcome. More than 9000 have signed an online petition calling on Electoral Commission president Sir John Williams to hold a recount, because they believe the election was "rigged". There is probably more reason to be concerned about the MallowPuffs Original being voted the favourite Griffin's biscuit in a landslide victory, as part of an advertising stunt. Non-chocolate biscuit lovers smell a rat.

It isn't only some on the left who are still a bit delusional over the election result: the Act Party has proclaimed that it held the Epsom seat because of its "strong brand". So strong that it produced fewer than 15,000 party votes.MORE FOR LESSTiming is everything, they say, and eyebrows were raised high when Chorus shareholders learned that the company plans to ask them at their annual meeting next month to increase directors' fees. After a series of knockbacks in the company's ongoing -- and losing -- battle with the Commerce Commission, plus dividends being frozen, more than one shareholder has been muttering that the company should be seeking a fee cut, not a rise.

FIRST DAY OF TERM

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The latest batch of new MPs went to Parliament this week for their orientation. They were greeted by Parliamentary staff wearing "ask me" T-shirts, and security guards clutching photos to avoid a repeat of embarrassing non-recognition incidents from the past. Behind the scenes, the battle for offices promises to be as brutal as the battle for votes.

LOLLY-SCRAMBLE TIME

Some people are wondering which retiring politicians will be in line for diplomatic posts or other rewards. Mike Moore is due to step down from the Washington post, and though career diplomats are lining up, the job could go to a politician. And stand by for a swathe of ex-politicians in the New Year honours list.

HIDDEN MEANING

The Insider suspects Waiheke commuters won't have been placated by this fine example of corporate-speak in a letter from their ferry company: "Fullers would like to ... acknowledge that some of the recent travel experiences have not been aligned to expectations." Translated, this appears to mean "we know our service has been a bit rubbish lately".

OUT OF THE FIRING LINE

David Shearer got out of Labour's election post-mortem caucus to grapple with simpler political issues at the United Nations. He is working with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully on New Zealand's bid to win a seat on the Security Council. Labour should take care -- last time one of its MPs spent any time with McCully, Shane Jones ended up getting a job offer. McCully is to deliver New Zealand's statement in the general debate on Monday.

After the Security Council vote on October 16 will come a flurry of diplomatic events. Most will centre on Australia hosting the G20 leaders' meeting in November, to which New Zealand is a special invitee. Among those considering popping in for a visit to New Zealand are Barack Obama (unlikely), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, China's President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron (all possible). As well, there are the East Asia Summit and APEC in China. Diplomats are hoping the wide and frequent top level diplomatic interchanges with China will eventually return to pre-botulism scare levels.

SCARY GOLF

They don't call it Hamiltron for nothing. The city's latest innovation is a mini-golf course with an Ice Age theme, using animatronic technology to depict mammoths, sabre tooth tigers and cavemen moving and roaring as people putt. Tourists are sure to flock in. Meanwhile, Queenstown is trying to work out how to fit in all the tourists flying to its airport. Perhaps it should ease the pressure by telling visitors about the electronic cavemen.

PC IN THE SHOP

The latest tool for politically-active Americans is a smartphone app to help with the shopping. Called BuyPartisan, it enables shoppers to scan a product's barcode, then get an instant readout revealing how much the maker gives to the Democrats and the Republicans, making it easy to decide which products to support and which ones to shun.