National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett has come up with a cunning plan to prevent a repeat of the turbulent fortnight the party has had - banning NZ Herald political editor Audrey Young from going on holiday again.

The first day of Young's recent holiday coincided with the day National Party leader Simon Bridges released the inquiry into the leak of his travel expenses, pointing the finger at Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross who denies the leak.

Young's holidays have developed a reputation for coinciding with major upheavals in the political scene, dubbed the "Curse of Audrey" by Newshub's Patrick Gower, a former NZ Herald journalist.

New Zealand Herald Political Editor Audrey Young at the Voyager Media Awards in Auckland in May. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Herald Political Editor Audrey Young at the Voyager Media Awards in Auckland in May. Photo / Greg Bowker

Young was in Queensland for the collapse of the National-NZ First coalition in 1998. She was in San Diego when former National Party leader Jenny Shipley was rolled by Bill English in 2001, in Bangkok when news broke that Don Brash was about to roll Bill English in 2003, and in Vietnam when John Key took over from Brash in 2006.


So when Young returned this week Bennett turned up in the Herald's press gallery office with a new members' bill proposal, titled "Holidays (Audrey Young Prohibition) Act".

It proposed an extra clause in the Holidays Act.

"Due to a pattern of unfortunate events that coincide with Audrey Young being on holiday, any person named Audrey Young is prohibited from taking annual leave unless prior authorisation is sought in writing from the National Party of New Zealand, and authorisation is granted by majority vote of the whole caucus."

Given Young's record it is just as much of a miracle that Bridges survived as it is that National still has a sense of humour about it.

Bennett said she was open to amending the proposal to secure Labour's support - whatever it took to keep Young at her desk rather than travelling.

"It's time Audrey took some responsibility for what happens in Parliament when she is away. Her recidivist behaviours over many years of taking holidays and putting Members of Parliament at risk must stop."

As well as governments and leaders, numerous ministers and MPs have also come a cropper during Young's time away, including Labour's Darren Hughes and National's Phil Heatley when he resigned (temporarily) over credit card use.

Young was also away when former United Future leader Peter Dunne announced he was resigning as a minister in 2013 after an investigation into the leak of an inquiry into the GCSB.