Beehive Diaries asks why Sir John Key forked out $21,000 for a lunch with Grant Robertson, and checks out Christopher Luxon's promo campaign for his maiden speech.
John Key's Labour liaisons
His old colleagues may be worried Sir John Key is coming to enjoy the company of his old enemies a bit too much.
After releasing a kiwi called Ardern with fellow former PM, Helen Clark, this week, Thursday night found him at the Halberg Sports Awards forking out $21,000 in an auction for lunch with Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
Key joked later to Beehive Diaries that he was "keen to learn from the master".
Robertson was reportedly flattered, and said perhaps it marked the start of Key's transition to the left.
However, Key admitted he may not have been quite so generous with his own money. He was bidding on behalf of the ISPS Handa Foundation, which sponsors the Halbergs.
Key is a patron of the foundation, set up by Japanese billionaire and philanthropist Haruhisa Handa.
In other achievements, Key also managed to shake hands with Sportsman of the Decade, Richie McCaw, without incident.
Maiden speeches: Christopher Luxon and the art of turning 15 minutes into a week
Key's attendance at the Halbergs meant he missed the maiden speech of his Chosen One: Christopher Luxon.
But Luxon managed to drag his 15 minutes of fame out into a week-long extravaganza of promos by posting on social media about it for days leading up to it – and then posting excerpts for days afterwards.
Beehive Diaries' favourite piece from the series was a Bruce Willis Armageddon-esque video clip, complete with dramatic music, of Luxon walking down a hallway on his way to deliver the speech. (We hope this was a self-spoof).
He had a lot of time to plan it: the National Party maidens were postponed twice because of lockdowns in Auckland.
As a result, Luxon had delivered about 15 other speeches in Parliament before he got to his "first".
Maiden speeches: Nicola Grigg's cloak with a tale
In her maiden speech, MP for Selwyn, Nicola Grigg wore a spectacular kahu kiwi (cloak of Kiwi feathers) with quite a backstory.
Made of brown kiwi feathers with a border of tui and kaka feathers, the cloak named Piata was gifted to Grigg's ancestor, James Henry St Hill, in about 1854 by Rāwinia Ngāwaka Tukeke, the wahīne rangatira of Ngāti Kere, Ngāti Hinetewai and Ngāti Pihere of Pōrangahau.
It now sits in Te Papa's taonga Māori collection. Grigg had gone to Te Papa and sought permission from the iwi to wear it for her maiden speech. She said the iwi were delighted to agree.
In her speech, Grigg said "I wear it as a mantle to remind me to be fair, equitable and just".
Plants over whisky for Winston's farewell
As one of the country's longest, best-known politicians, Winston Peters' farewell bash in Parliament's Grand Hall was always going to be a grand affair.
The bill for the December event for diplomats and Peters' nearest and dearest was close to $11,000 and a breakdown of those costs has now been provided.
Beehive Diaries can reveal that close to $2200 was spent on decoration, venue and plant hire: more than double the amount that was spent on booze.
An additional $340 was spent on a scented floral bouquet at the entrance.
- Additional material: Jason Walls