Say what you like about Judith Collins but she lacks nothing for confidence. Given the ranking of “politician” and “car salesman” in the lists of least loved professions, it takes some chutzpah for an MP to accept the role of brand ambassador for a car yard. What next? Moonlighting as a journalist?
(Actually come to think of it she does write a weekly column for the Sunday Star Times.)
Collins has attracted criticism from opposition parties for the deal, which sees her get a complimentary car and gratis petrol from the South Auckland dealership, with a cut from purchases mentioning her name going to her choice of charity, Papakura Community Crimewatch Patrols.
The prime minister has accepted Collins’ response to her critics: that she is a backbench MP, and therefore not subject to the Cabinet Manual – which by the way also means she doesn’t get a Cabinet Automatic, in the form of one of those flash BMW limos.
In the spirit of brand-diplomacy synergies and subsidising MPs’ salaries and/or lavish hotel bills, here are some suggestions for other ambassadorships. Cabinet Manual be damned.
Phil Goff – ambassador for Alice, the tunnel making machine
The future Auckland mayor’s current constituency borders on the massive new tunnel being constructed in Auckland’s northwest, which is almost certainly the biggest something or other in the southern hemisphere.
Who better to be brand ambassador for Alice, the machine that has moving the earth to make the thing. How’s this: “Phil and Alice, together building pathways to a more modern, if road-obsessed Auckland.” Also, he shows it’s OK to be boring.
John Key – ambassador for New Giggly Zealand
Obviously he’s the Prime Minister and the Tourism Minister so he’s kind of almost literally the ambassador for New Zealand. But “New Zealand” is a bit Alice-and-Phil, isn’t it? After the off-the-wall down-and-dirty bantz with the ladz on Haurakadakka the other day about pissing and wanking managed to penetrate (penetrate! high five!) the American television sector, let’s leverage that crudeness in the global marketplace. “New Zealand: 100% Phwoar.”
Maggie Barry – ambassador for Story
The TV3 current affairs show has had a sluggish run in the ratings lately, but help is at hand, in the form of Maggie Barry. The North Shore MP unleashed an attack on Heather Du Plessis-Allan over an item about her getting short-distance rides in her Cabinet Automatic. Barry’s attack on “Duplicity Allan” was odd enough – it included, for example, posting on Twitter a light-hearted email from HDPA’s husband, Barry Soper, to one of Barry’s staffers – but made odder by the fact that she launched it some months after the story aired.
All great publicity for Story, although it will probably be topped by HDPA getting thrown into prison for buying a gun.
Steven Joyce – ambassador for hair-straighteners
Cheap gag but still.
Jonathan Coleman – ambassador for Coca-Cola
They just lurve the guy.
Simon Bridges – ambassador for bridges
Tim Groser – ambassador for 24 hour service stations
Because he’s pumped and keeps going all night, even when the dairy’s closed.
Winston Peters – ambassador Perky Nana
Because he reminds you of the old days and keeps going and going and going.
Maurice Williamson – ambassador for Nike
Because he just does it.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.