Book's recipes give politicians a good roasting

KIM KNIGHT
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2014
Mary-Ellen O'Connor
ALDEN WILLIAMS/Fairfax NZ
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Mary-Ellen O’Connor has whipped up a political feast.

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Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges apparently goes for "any recipes with lots of oil". Gerry Brownlee, the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, is alleged to favour a pickle with custard. And Finance Minister Bill English supposedly bakes a mean banana republic - oops - cake.

A new cookbook purporting to contain the National Party's "recipes for victory" is more political roast than toast, with the author confirming her main intent is to make people laugh.

The book began circulating last week. Nelson author Mary-Ellen O'Connor says she'll be in Wellington next week, selling the $5 volume on the streets. Profits from the book (unauthorised and not endorsed by any political party) are likely to be donated to the "centre left".

The book's text plays on O'Connor's perception of National MPs and their portfolio performances.

Paula Bennett, Social Development and Employment Minister, is credited with a "mean and hungry meal plan" which includes a lunch of "chips and Coke from the school canteen", and Judith Collins, under fire recently for her dinner with Oravida bosses in China, features with a recipe for a black and white neenish tart with two swirls on top. "People have said these resemble my eyebrows, but actually they're the Chinese characters for ‘I love you'."

O'Connor has self-published 500 of the books at a cost of $1200. She says the idea has been "bubbling" for some time, and election year seemed the appropriate time.

"I don't imagine for a second it's going to puncture John Key's popularity. It might even add to it."

O'Connor has previously published a centennial history of the nurse's union, a book on the Public Service Association and stood for Parliament on the Alliance ticket.

She has no immediate plans for a follow-up cookbook. "Maybe after the election - there might be more food for thought then."

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