As if it wasn't hard enough for Labour MP Phil Twyford to see his treasured prize of the Mt Albert byelection taken from him, he now finds he has an unwanted champion in the enemy camp.

Mr Twyford's sidelining from the Mt Albert race in favour of non-MPs has come at an opportune time for Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Key needs a diversionary tactic or four to blunt the Opposition's attacks on the Auckland Super City.

Anticipating a grilling about why even one of his own ministers - Paula Bennett - had voiced concerns about the proposal, Mr Key reaches into his hat and pulls out Mr Twyford.

Mr Key declares he stands by his caucus, adding that is more than Labour leader Phil Goff did over Mt Albert "where he was more than happy to drop Phil Twyford for David Shearer".

Mr Key then hauls out diversionary tactic number two: Phil Goff himself.

Answering an earnest question from Green MP Sue Kedgley, Mr Key gives an impassioned rendition of Mr Goff's attempts to remember Green co-leader Russel Norman's surname in a recent radio interview.

"Russel um; God; oh, I've forgotten his name," Mr Key shouts in faux confusion. "Ah, Russel ... help me; who is the co-leader of the Greens? Oh, it's Russel Norman, that's right."

It results in such a yelping that United Future leader Peter Dunne springs up, protesting he cannot hear a word, despite Mr Key's valiant attempt to speak at the top of his voice - "I could see that from the way his facial muscles were contorting".

This invites even more cacophony - it is clear to every person in the chamber that Mr Key's facial contortions were caused by his wide grin as he egged on the very yelpers Mr Dunne was objecting to.

The Speaker wisely turns down requests for Mr Key to repeat himself.

But Mr Key's job is done. The cherry on the top comes when Mr Goff seeks to officially table "the front page of every suburban newspaper in Auckland" in an effort to show how critical those papers were of the "bullying" approach the Government followed on the Super City.

Parliament's rules for tabling insist that the documents in question have to be physically produced. Much to National's delight, Mr Goff has forgotten to add that it will only be one copy of the papers in question.

Their heads full of happy visions of Labour staffers rounding up every single newspaper in the metropolis and a convoy of trucks rolling down the country to fulfil such a requirement, the National MPs let him table them.