Henry and Hosking quick to tire of Ponytail-Gate

TV3's Paul Henry is already suffering from Ponytail-Gate fatigue.
Lawrence Smith/Fairfax NZ

TV3's Paul Henry is already suffering from Ponytail-Gate fatigue.

On Wednesday evening Seven Sharp's presenter Mike Hosking's analysis of Ponytail-Gate was to describe it as a "wacky old business".

He interpreted the reaction to John Key's unwanted hair fondling of an Auckland waitress as symptomatic of third term governmentitis, while his co-host Pippa Wetzell homespun the story revealing that: "In my house people don't pull hair and are told to keep your hands to yourself".

Earlier in the day on Paul Henry, which should be renamed The Hilary Barry Show, they invited National Party MP Judith Collins and deputy Labour Leader Annette King on to speak about the follicle folly, with Collins who has referred to Labour MP, Jacinda Ardern as "My Little Pony" opining that the prime minister had made a mistake, apologised for it and the matter should be left there.

Henry wondered where the PM's advisers were on the seven occasions he had pulled the waitress's hair, and King pointed out the Key's wife, Bronagh, who she presumed was his "closest adviser" had told him to knock it off more than once, but the PM had chosen to disregard her advice.

To make matters worse the Parnell pony-tail puller described his hair pulling as a bit of "horsing around" when he made his first apology, breezily adding that the waitress had thanked him for his olive branch of two bottles of wine and said she was fine.

Sam, the weatherman on the Breakfast show was worried for the PM and had a funny feeling that the story wouldn't go away for Key, who he described as "a playful guy".

Deborah Russell, described as a feminist spokeswoman on the Breakfast show, said Key was a powerful man who refused to take no for an answer and his actions were symptomatic of some middle-aged men who think they can put their hands any where they liked.

Political scientist Bryce Edwards said the story would be more visceral to the electorate than the Dirty Politics scandal and predicted that the incident would be the end of the relaxed jokey bloke Key.

No show without Punch,  Graham McCready now referred to as a "serial litigator" swung into action and laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, and NZ First Leader Winston Peters discovered the word tricholphilia, a word pertaining to someone with a hair fetish and added later on the Paul Henry show on Friday morning that the kink was "seriously creepy".

TV3 political editor Patrick Gower missing in action over in Istanbul compared Ponytail-Gate with Helen Clark's "Speed-Gate", and said Key would be fearful of the reaction back home and wouldn't want to be seen as a jerk, but was in good company at the Anzac ceremony because he would be sitting next to  Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

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The 6pm news bulletins on both channels dragged disgraced former National MP Aaron Gilmore and Cera boss Roger Sutton into the frame to revisit their misdemeanours, while Simon Dallow said with a straight face on One News on Thursday night that if viewers cared to go on to the TVNZ website they could look up the collected video clips of Key's greatest gaffes.

On Thursday night's Seven Sharp Hosking was annoyed that the story wasn't going away, describing it as "small-nation" stuff and said the real victims in the story were the good, hard-working cafe owners, one of whom he'd met, who were mixed up in "an agenda driven circus".

Hosking was particularly livid about The New Zealand Herald's front page headline, which was an alleged quote from the controversial "interview" with gossip columnist Rachel Glucina and the waitress which said: "I thought New Zealand should know."

Nearly pulling his sleeves right off his suit, Hosking scoffed: "What a puffed up pile of bollocks."

Campbell Live stayed completely away from the story, instead focusing on allegations of sexual abuse made by a former member of the cult, Gloriavale. Pam Corkery appeared on Paul Henry and, as predicted by Henry, totally went off, saying The New Zealand Herald's alleged duplicitous actions in getting an interview with the waitress were Dirty Politics chapter and verse, and did her block.

By Friday morning Henry, like Hosking, was feigning extreme fatigue about the story as he probably regretted that on the social media slot fronted by Perlina Lau - which is a dismal failure - Ponytail-Gate had no less than four hashtags - #Ponytailgate, #MinistryforWomen, #Hipgroup, and #Herald.

Henry suggested that #shabbylittletabloid should be added to the mix. 


Sam Neill's personal take on war history Tides of Blood is told on Maori TV on Anzac Day, 7am and 8pm. TV3 offers a six-hour special starting at 6am titled The Nation: 3 News Anzac Day, and Country Calendar on TV One at 7pm focuses on a World War I general. On Sunday, TV One  screens a double episode of their new World War I production When We Go To War at 8.30pm.

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