NZ singer star enjoys a stellar week after her Billboard wins.

Yesterday she was rubbing shoulders with former Prime Minister Helen Clark, 64, at the United Nations in New York.

Earlier, she posed cheek to cheek at her own M.A.C makeup launch with celebrity sprog Ireland Baldwin, the 18-year-old offspring of Alec Baldwin and ex-wife Kim Basinger.

Lorde, 17, has had a stellar week in the United States after her double win at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. There she wore a black feather concoction by French fashion house Lanvin. Her seemingly untameable locks were slicked back.

The paps trailed when she lunched with Taylor Swift, 24, at a trendy Tribeca eatery. Swift is more familiar with the preying press, smiling coyly but knowingly.


Publicity for Lorde this week has been in overdrive with her label's communication team working hard.

In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, alongside 34-year-old indie muso Conor Oberst, the confessional singer-songwriter revealed she'll be "18 or 19" before her next album drops. She's proud of her writing skills - but struggles with some instruments.

"I can't play guitar; I am pretty bad at piano. I just bought a bunch of vintage Casiotone synths, because you can only play two keys at once. But up to this point, I've been writing vocally and coming up with chord progressions vocally."

She struggles, too, with opening herself up in verse. Not many people are off limits - including mum Sonja.

"I reckon 85 per cent of what I write is autobiographical ... I remember writing a song when I was, like, 15 and it had the line, 'my mother's love is choking me', because I'd had this fight with my mum. It's the one thing that she hears and she always feels kind of sad about. Even though I told her so many times, 'I didn't mean it, I'm sorry'."

A new report this week from online price guide Pricenomics has revealed the cost of booking some of the world's most famous bands before expenses. Lorde is believed to be charging US$150,000 to US$250,00 a show, putting her on par with Bob Dylan and Usher, and ahead of Ben Harper, Cee Lo Green and the Arctic Monkeys.

Former Act leader Richard Prebble, left, and Labour Party chief of staff Matt McCarten.
Former Act leader Richard Prebble, left, and Labour Party chief of staff Matt McCarten.

Jonesy's parting hangover

They all came to serenade their boy off. The Backbencher pub on Wednesday night was heaving with nearly 300 friends and former foes saying farewell to MP Shane Jones, leaving to become a Pacific Economic Ambassador for the Government.

Labour's Mr Shy Guy, David Parker, let loose, cutting up the dance floor. Dancing, I'm told, isn't one of his strong points. But as Jonesy tells it, there were a few journos who could do with dance lessons, too.

"My Dot is a very alluring dancer. She's very skilled on the dance floor. Let's just say she's got an infinite number of journalists in need of her help," he joked to The Diary the morning after.

Shane and Dorothy left at the respectable hour of midnight. "I had to catch an early flight," he explained. Others weren't so wise. "Oh dear. Got home at 2am ... Very, very hungover," said a worse-for-wear David Farrar yesterday.

Jones: "There was an unparalleled amount of oysters, clams, fish bites, fresh fish and other kaimoana. The journos had never seen so much free seafood! They were racing for the free food and free drinks."

David Cunliffe was there, though Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth left notably early. There's no love lost between her and Jonesy. Brendan Horan made an appearance, but Winston Peters was conspicuously absent. Roger Douglas was there, so too were Richard Prebble, Sean Plunket, Mark Sainsbury, Matt McCarten, John Tamihere, Willie Jackson and TV3 political editor Paddy Gower, who said the booze-up "was a real big blowout for the old boys".

Tutaia teases big bro
Maria Tutaia, 26, isn't the only sports star in the family. Her rugby player brother, Masalosalo Tutaia, 29, has just signed with French club Stade Montois for two seasons, leaving the Australian Western Force.

The Tutaia siblings (there are six in the Samoan family) are proud of each other, but don't mind poking some stick. On his joining Stade Montois, Maria joked: "Not bad for a boy who would get dropped off to school by dad and come back home after school in a cop car."

Karl Urban is to star in a teen fantasy-adventure movie. Photo / Getty Images
Karl Urban is to star in a teen fantasy-adventure movie. Photo / Getty Images

Urban in China talks

Pre-production is underway in Auckland on the first joint feature-film venture between China and New Zealand. Kiwi Karl Urban and

Hunger Games

star Willow Shields are in discussions to star in

The Wonder

, a US$20 million ($23.29 million), 3D teen fantasy-adventure movie which is eligible for funding from the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

British director Peter Hewitt is behind the project, with shooting expected to begin in Auckland in September and later in Lijiang, China. Beijing media investment and production company Show and Share Entertainment is producing the film with Kiwis Richard Fletcher and Allan Xia, and three British producers.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) did its bit by introducing the investor and co-producer from China. "The Wonder is a significant step towards creating deeper cultural and economic ties with China, and will hopefully be the catalyst for future co-productions between New Zealand and China," says Ateed chief executive Brett O'Riley.

Evidently politicians aren't the only ones keen to embrace Chinese money for New Zealand's greater good.

Garner speaking up
Duncan Garner is guest speaker today at the Wintec Press Club lunch, which journalist Steve Braunias stages three times a year in Hamilton. An invitation-only audience of 100 will gather at a riverside restaurant to hear Garner share his prophecies for this year's election.

The guest list includes Garner's mate Guyon Espiner, Energy Minister Simon Bridges, Labour hopeful Tamati Coffey, the ever-hopeful Colin Craig, comedians Te Radar and Jesse Mulligan, TV's Rebecca Wright, several newspaper editors, two property millionaires and 20 Wintec journalism students. The after-match function will be at a student bar on Hamilton's main drag. "It's a cool place," says Braunias. "It's got a stage with a pole."