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National wants to make itself "cool" to young people and push party members to be more active in promoting women's causes and charities.

These are among ideas put up in a leaked paper examining ways the party can broaden its appeal to voters.

Under the heading "sell our female MPs", the paper suggests working harder to get them covered "in the women's mags" and recommends advertising in the magazines.

The ideas were presented by the party's then-general manager, Greg Sheehan, to a regional conference in April.

They were revealed in Parliament by senior Labour minister Trevor Mallard yesterday, who said he wanted to give "a preview of the National Party conference this weekend".

It was widely seen as a Labour attempt to divert attention from the Taito Phillip Field report, but it showed ways in which National hopes to win votes.

Mr Mallard, who said he'd had the plan for a week, claimed it showed a cynical and desperate publicity plan to "take advantage of people with cancer" and "abuse the good name of charities" to gain political support.

Under the "we must make National cool" heading are images of bands the Feelers and Steriogram.

Under the heading "collateral and merchandise" are pictures of clothes carrying the image of the Dawn Raid record label.

Mr Mallard claimed National was using the brands to convince people the party was "cool" and questioned whether the bands knew their image was being used to promote the party.

National deputy leader Gerry Brownlee dismissed the claims as "a cynical ploy by Mr Mallard, a man well known for running diversionary tactics when a person is in trouble".

"I think they are deeply embarrassed by the Phillip Field incident, I think they know they've handled it wrong," he said.

"The simple reality is that this was a presentation to a National Party regional conference looking at how the party can appeal to more voters."

It was "garbage" to say National was abusing charity.

"Why wouldn't you want to see Young Nats involved in street appeals for various charities?"

Asked if Mr Mallard was correct in interpreting the paper as a sign that National was softening, Mr Brownlee said: "It's about presenting an image of National that is representative of the people who join and work hard for the party."

The "cool" message was designed to challenge a conference at which the number of people under the age of 25 was "pretty thin" to think about the need to attract youth.

The bands and their lyrics were given as examples of the messages to which young people responded, and there was no plan to use their images or lyrics publicly, he said.

The Dawn Raid gear was used to highlight how National's branding of its own promotional clothing needed to improve.

Asked about the row, Dawn Raid founder and part-owner Andy Murnane said: "I'm a musician, not a politician, so I'd rather just stay out of it. All I would say is that I hope someone is going to send me a cheque. I wish we were getting paid for them using our name at their conference."

He added: " It's a very political business the music business."