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Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 contestants stop Parliament


June 2, 2010/12.18

Miss New Zealand 2010 at Parliament
Miss New Zealand 2010 at Parliament
Miss New Zealand 2010 at Parliament
From top The contestants at the steps of Parliament. The Hon Maurice Williamson MP receives glamorous guests—calling it a highlight of his political career. Before heading to Parliament, at Bowen Street.

It’s not every day that you can stop a session of Parliament.
   But that’s exactly what happened today as the Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 contestants visited Parliament Buildings in Wellington, and the Beehive Executive Wing.
   Having received special permission, the Hon Maurice Williamson MP, who had entertained the contestants in his office and showed off his children’s photographs on his new iPad—referred to the young women after they had entered Parliament’s gallery.
   Williamson later called the event a ‘highlight’ of his political career.
   They also managed to speak with the Rt Hon John Key, thanks to pageant director Val Lott standing her ground when they came across the Prime Minister during their tour.
   Although the PM’s security said no, Val stood her ground and managed to get some time—and photographs—with him.
   The PM even made an exception to the no-camera rule in the Parliament Buildings. Val’s husband, Allan Parker, took the shots, as did some of the parliamentary staff.
   His parting gift from yours truly was a mayoral campaign brochure. Hey, you take what opportunities God—and Val—give you.
   The tour saw everyone educated on how a law is passed, parliamentary privilege and the select committee process—things which our American-born tour guide, Bill, pointed out were not taught at school.
   Admittedly, even I had to learn about this at law school—and that was mostly because a former prime minister taught the course.
   We missed the journalist from The Dominion Post, who was nowhere to be seen at the close of our tour, though TV3’s Duncan Garner decided the visit was sufficiently political to film.
   The contestants are coming into their own, with improvements in their confidence, poise and media savvy.
   All were fascinated by the political process, especially as one has to represent New Zealand at Miss Universe this August in Las Vegas, Nevada.
   When you consider that the youngest of the 2010 entrants are in their teens, the Miss Universe New Zealand pageant has been a huge boost to their self-esteem and development.
   Today, they also were filmed for TV One’s Close-up and TV3’s Nightline, and took in the Petone Workingmen’s Club, which had sponsored Miss Hutt Valley, Mary Cooper. They also met with the Museum Hotel’s Chris Parkin, who was congratulated on the quality of his property and for the complimentary rooms, and with Bolton Hotel management, which had allowed the contestants to park their cars during the Parliamentary visit.
   I want to thank Laura McQuillan, whose NZPA article was picked up by several media today, and Jennifer Looman of, who gave the event a very welcome Wellington-friendly boost. The extent and quality of media coverage better we had in Auckland, with the prevailing theme of the latest reports centring around the ‘renaissance’ in beauty pageants.
   On Thursday, expect the ladies at Farmers Lambton Quay just after lunchtime. I will join two of them very early on for a recorded radio interview at Groove 107·7 FM (another two will be on a Mediaworks station live at 9 a.m.), but will rejoin them in the evening. The reigning Miss Universe New Zealand, Katie Taylor, arrives in Wellington as well.
   Remember: there are still some tickets, though there will be fewer live Tweets from me on Thursday.

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Filed by Jack Yan

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