What a useful chap David Cunliffe is to have with you at a bunfight. The Opposition leader, the Prime Minister, co-leader of the Maori Party, Dr Pita Sharples, former Prime Minister Sir Jim Bolger and former Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Don McKinnon arrived at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, with half the rest of the world, only to find that John Key could take only a plus-one with him into the VIP area.

Key chose Cunliffe, but Cunliffe passed his invitation to Sharples, saying he felt it was more appropriate that Sharples be there than him.

Quite rightly, too.

Then it transpired that there was another, lesser VIP area that the gentlemen could go to and, again, Cunliffe came to the rescue, this time for Sir Jim.


When it looked as though entry would be denied Sir Jim, Cunliffe intervened telling the ushers that this was the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Which, as he later told reporters, was sort of the truth. He had been. He just wasn't now.

I might invite Cunliffe to the Rolling Stones concert. I haven't been able to snaffle tickets, but for the price of a meal and a couple of beers, and if I ask really nicely, perhaps David can blag us both in.