It was the second day of the Great Dye War. It was the pursuit of the hirsute as Winston Peters continued his campaign to get to the roots of what - if true - would be a real prime ministerial cover-up: that John Key dyes his hair.

Those MPs falling into the category of the follicly challenged - bald or rapidly trending that way - could only sit back in envy that both Key and Peters still have enough thatch up top to dye for.

Not that anyone would accuse Peters of such a practice. These days, his hair is streaked with large tufts of white. It is the look of wisdom that comes with age.

Key would not concur. The Prime Minister has a sense of humour. But he could not let the suggestion that he was hostage to vanity go unchallenged.


He struck back at the first opportunity when Peters probed him on the blow-out in the construction costs of the SkyCity convention centre project.

"There's no dye in these locks, baby," Key chirped to cheers from colleagues.

Other MPs might have been momentarily flummoxed. But, quicker than you could say Grecian 2000, Peters shot back. "Well, how come the curtains don't match the carpet?"

Not everyone took this to mean Peters was referring to the contrast between Key's sideburns and the remainder of the prime ministerial mop.

The suspicion that Peters was talking about another area of the Body Politic was compounded by Key's reply: "I take offence that the member is telling New Zealand he has seen my carpet."

By this stage, most MPs on all sides of the chamber were convulsed with laughter. And even more so when Peters added: "No. I just meant the sideboards."

The ruckus eventually subsided such that Speaker David Carter could finally hear himself calling for order. "I expect the House now to return to some sort of decorum."

Carter will have his fingers crossed that yesterday was nothing more than a case of hair today and gone tomorrow.

Debate on this article is now closed.