Party leaders give up alcohol

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014

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Dry July might be over, but political party leaders are giving up booze until after the election.

Prime Minister John Key confessed to guests at a fundraising event this week that he has been on the wagon since his return from a Hawaii holiday last month.

Labour leader David Cunliffe hosted end-of-term drinks last night at Parliament and vowed that would be his last glass of wine before the September 20 polling day.

And Greens co-leader Russel Norman has eschewed alcohol since before May's Budget. He wanted to remain "100 per cent" focused, a spokesman said. Co-leader Metiria Turei rarely drinks, but will continue to have the odd glass. However, it's not clear if legendary carouser Winston Peters will forgo his favourite whisky on the campaign trail.

At yesterday's adjournment debate, marking the end of the 50th Parliament, Peters quipped: "Unlike National, we don't get drunk on a wine biscuit." He was throwing a party at the Backbencher pub last night to celebrate NZ First's 21st anniversary.

Mana leader Hone Harawira hasn't touched a drop for 25 years.

Key revealed his abstinence at a fundraising event at Wellington's Dockside restaurant on Wednesday night. He noted the irony about delivering a speech while standing in the bar.

A spokeswoman said "He is just taking good care of himself for the campaign." Key is known to favour pinor noir and English-brewed Bath Ales.

Cunliffe said he had taken up the "wowser challenge" and would drink water from today.

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