Clearly aware of the competition on the red carpet on the other side of Wellington, politicians ratcheted up the entertainment value in Parliament today - with National minister Steven Joyce's adaptation of JRR Tolkein taking the Oscar.

Antics ranged from National MP Maurice Williamson doing jazz hands at Annette King, to Nick Smith declaring that Labour's recent troubles had provided such a feast that it made him "feel like a mosquito at a nudist colony."

But it was Steven Joyce who had the most fun with Labour's recent woes, which culminated in the demotion of David Cunliffe for disloyalty.

Joyce set up MP Tau Henare to ask if there were any potential upcoming film productions in the wake of the Hobbit.


Joyce said he had heard of one, featuring a fellowship "led by a tall, thinning grey wizard who surrounds himself with a loyal legion of halflings sworn to protect him against a slimy, bearded creature hiding and plotting in the darkness, consumed by jealousy, and relentlessly in pursuit of his 'precious'.

At this point the roars of laughter - including from that wizard - David Shearer - and the slimy bearded creature - David Cunliffe - nearly drowned out Mr Joyce. But he wanted to tell them how it ended.

"Their journey is made more difficult by the presence of a number of goblins still loyal to their former leader, an all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing eye, watching from a distance-roughly, between here and New York."

By the time of this reference to Helen Clark, only National MPs and the bearded creature were still laughing.

Joyce ploughed on: "We are due to hear more about the conclusion of this particular story in February of next year, but I understand that it might be a little bit of a flop, because, rather than giant eagles, the fellowship have decided to put their faith in an elderly mallard."

Such was the effect that it neutralised Labour whip Chris Hipkins' attempt to get utu by reminding Joyce of another film, which was already on DVD, known as the Hollow Men which outlined National's own election campaign of 2005 under Don Brash.

However, Labour's Annette King managed to get the last word a bit later - reminding Parliament about the Prime Minister's recent comparison of the 100 per cent Pure campaign to McDonald's advertisements.

"That may be true," Mrs King mused. "Because the thing New Zealand and McDonald's have in common is that they are both run by clowns."