OPINION: You have to feel a little sorry for Labour leader David Cunliffe.
His state of the nation speech couldn't have been more poorly timed, coinciding with the historic Grammy win by Kiwi singer/songwriter Lorde.
While Mr Cunliffe and his party tried desperately to rouse interest in their new plan, which included $60 a week for families of newborns, and an extension to paid parental leave, Kiwis were sidetracked, along with the 80 million other sets of eyes on Ella Yelich-O'Connor.
At just 17 years old, and in just her first year in the spotlight, this Auckland schoolgirl stole the show when she took home two of the four Grammy Awards yesterday (NZT) that she was nominated for.
Yelich-O'Connor became the youngest ever winner of the song of the year award, and along with her co-writer Joel Little, the two became the first ever New Zealand winners of the award.
She also took home best pop solo performance, beating out the likes of Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars.
Her performance at the awards show gained a standing ovation, and her acceptance speeches will probably go down as some of the most awkward or quirky that the Grammy Awards have seen.
Headlines, quite rightly, will be dominated by Lorde's achievements, and the path she and her team have paved is sure to have a flow-on effect for musicians, artists and just about any young Kiwi vying for the top spot on a world stage.
While her journey to the top has been swift, it will have a lasting effect for the country.
But for Labour, the battle to take centre stage in politics may come down to re-engaging on a much wider scale with its new family-friendly policies.
The plan to extend paid parental leave and free early childhood education hours would normally cause a much bigger stir than it has.
Labour's post-announcement dissection of how they believed it went will no doubt mention how an unplanned factor played a part on getting their message out.
That factor being, of course, the reigning pop queen, Lorde.
ONE MORE THING
Many congratulations to Manawatu Standard editor Michael Cummings and his wife Erin on the arrival of their son, Darcy Luke Cummings.
Right on deadline, 8lb Darcy arrived on Sunday evening, Australia Day - "a spectacular act of patriotic timing" in a nod to his mother's homeland, according to the new dad.
Mother and son are doing great. We wish them all the best for this special time.
- Manawatu Standard
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