Thin Lizzy knew how to do a Christmas party. Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images

Are work Christmas parties always rubbish now?

As Marcus Lush reveals ‘outrage about the NZME Christmas Party’, we launch our crowd-sourced investigation into the contemporary reality of the festive work do.

Last night Newstalk ZB’s evenings host Marcus Lush blew the lid on a major New Zealand media scandal for the festive season. The issuing of invitations to radio and publishing giant NZME’s staff Christmas party, Lush revealed to listeners, had sparked “outrage”.

Lush, whose ZB talkback show remains a modern classic, said: “I can tell you that Christmas parties aren’t what they used to be. The NZME one is from 5pm to 8pm. It’s three hours!”

He added: “Now it’s been a while between drinks for me, but I suspect a three-hour Christmas party, for most people, well, you haven’t really turned the tap on in three hours. I mean, the thing with Christmas parties, it’s a great excuse or chance for people who think they’ve been under-valued by the company to drink that commensurate value in alcohol.

“But a party between five and eight, that’s also expected to be dress-up, why would you bother?

What kind of dress-up? The Spinoff has learned that the theme is “Back to School”. The invitation, which does indeed stipulate the Friday-night bash runs for three hours from 5pm at a central Auckland venue, includes the warning: “Excessive drinking will result in DETENTION.”

Asked about the “outrage”, one source at the NZME-owned Herald said: “I haven’t noticed any”, adding that the parties tended to be more popular with “radio and commercial types”.

Another NZME source said: “To me it’s pretty stingy. Not too fussed though because a Christmas party is a bonus, and shouldn’t be expected.”

But, look, we’re not looking down our noses at the fine people of NZME. Something happened at the last Spinoff Christmas Party, for example, that would appall any right thinking New Zealander. Unfortunately I am unable to say anything at all about the incident, apart from that it was 100% Duncan Greive’s fault.

But, listen, we’re keen to collect all your best Christmas Party stories – the saddest, the oddest, the funniest, even the greatest. Send to – we’re happy to anonymise if you wish. Please don’t defame anybody.

Meanwhile, broadcaster and Man of Bluff Marcus Lush had a good little riff last night about venues, too.

“What normally happens with radio work parties is they find a venue that’s down on its luck and they suspect they can’t pay their advertising bill. They say: OK, I’ll tell you what, instead of paying your next bill we’ll have the Christmas party there,” he said.

“So you always end up at bars that are what’s known in the industry as ‘jinxed sites’, that have been through 20 different incarnations over the last five years and are about to go through another. So I guess through going to radio Christmas parties you do get a tour of some of the less successful establishments, which I’ve always found quite interesting.

He also said: “Of course I work alone so I won’t have a Christmas party. And I work nights.”

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