MPs (ok, also some journalists) were starstruck on Tuesday when Hollywood heartthrob Cliff Curtis graced the corridors of power during the dinner break.
Curtis spent the evening on precinct and was taken by Minister Willie Jackson to Parliament’s bar, 3.2, where a Press Gallery journalist’s birthday drinks were under way.
Awkwardly - given the Government’s crackdown on lobbying announced on Monday - Curtis was in Parliament for an event organised by lobbyists for the film industry, which is hoping to keep hold of the multimillion-dollar screen production incentive scheme.
A number of lobbyists were spotted enjoying the last days of their swipe access to Parliament during the week – including to attend Jacinda Ardern’s valedictory party the next night. That event also provided the chance for a photo of the four Labour Prime Ministers - Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Helen Clark, Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins.
Speak no evil
In her valedictory, Ardern stuck to the dictum that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all - especially if that person has not said nice things about you.
So while many people got mentions in perhaps the best valedictory Beehive Diaries has witnessed, there were notable omissions. Her former deputy PM Winston Peters, whose Caesar’s thumb cast her into the job of PM back in 2017, did not get a single mention – nor was there any reference to NZ First being any part of that Government from 2017 - 2022.
Funnily enough, Act leader David Seymour did get a mention – Ardern referred to her description of him as an “arrogant prick” last year.
Seymour was the only political party leader who did not attend the speech - he later explained he had pre-booked a public meeting in Northland instead, but he had texted his apologies to Ardern.
It was perhaps just as well since he had recently broken the “speak no evil” dictum himself. On a podcast with Max Key, Seymour had said Ardern was “not clever enough” to be PM, and “too dumb” to engineer a global conspiracy theory.
Grant Robertson leaped to Ardern’s defence in Parliament – and again at her valedictory party, at significant risk to his own welfare.
Beehive Diaries is told he said Ardern was the most intelligent politician he had ever worked with. That may or may not have earned him a look from another politician he has worked with, the woman with a black belt in death stares - Helen Clark, standing right in front of him.
Bread and butter bribery
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins took the opportunity of the lull in attention afforded by Ardern’s day to tour the press gallery with a basket of chocolate easter eggs.
He was ably assisted by his chief press secretary Andrew Campbell, sporting a jolly pair of Easter Bunny ears and a fluffy tail in his jacket pocket.
Switching from Ardern to Hipkins has been quite the adjustment for the good-natured Campbell.
Even Ardern acknowledged that Campbell had not had the easiest job, given her reluctance in dealing with the media. He had done her one last favour by breaking the bad news to the Gallery that she would not be doing exit interviews with them.
Hipkins is far less wary of the media, so Campbell may have thought he had escaped such days – but Ardern at least never made him stoop to the indignity of wearing bunny ears. Nonetheless, he looked pretty happy about his new look.