Jacinda Ardern’s turn to speak

Jacinda Ardern as the possible next Prime Minister (subject to Green Party approval) will speak at 8 pm.

She is speaking now.

Water quality, housing and child poverty are still top priorities for Labour under a Labour-NZ First coalition.

One of the first things she does is thank Bill English for his campaign and his work as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister. Classy (a big contrast to a previous speaker).

She then thanks NZ First, mentioning the party name several times. No mention of Peters.

She then thanks the Greens for robust negotiations.

She then says that she will wait for the Green decision but says she expects the Greens to approve of the deal as they campaigned to change the government – and she is changing the government.

Later in the week (not much of it to go) she will release policy documents Labour has made with both NZ First and the greens, and also portfolio positions.

NZ First will have four portfolios (Ministers) and one under-secretary. Five out of nine MPs.

She confirms the Greens will have ministerial portfolios (they have been offered them). She doesn’t say if they will be inside or outside Cabinet.

She has offered Peters the Deputy Prime Minister job and he is considering it.

Jacinda Ardern: ‘I thank the NZ First Party and Winston Peters for agreeing to a coalition with Labour’

The PM-elect says the Green Party is now undertaking its internal approval process before final arrangements are confirmed.


The Winston Show today

The Winston Show continues today. We don’t know whether the big announcement this afternoon, announced by Winston Peters yesterday, will be the final act or not. The Greens at least seem to want an epilogue for themselves.

Peters is producing, directing and starring in his show. The NZ First appeared in one act but they have since dispersed, leaving their star in the limelight.

National and Labour are bit players. They don’t know what the announcement is going to reveal, they don’t know what part if any either of them may play. Bill English and Jacinda Ardern have allowed themselves to be sidelined after offering the baubles they think will buy them power.

I voted so I can moan when I find out what is revealed today. Or I can groan and wait another day or two.

Beware of assumptions. Yesterday:

Today this dawned on them:

I’m not sure that everyone is hoping for that, many are probably past caring. Or preparing themselves for three years of the Winston Show.

An announcement about an announcement…

A short time ago Winston peters made an announcement that he will make an announcement about the NZ First decision on government tomorrow afternoon, Some time. Maybe.

But there will be more to do from there, the Greens won’t make their decision and announcement until they now what the NZ First decision is.

Winston’s full press release:

New Zealand First will be in a position tomorrow afternoon to make an announcement on the result of negotiations following the 2017 General Election.

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said he had spoken to the leaders of the National Party and the Labour Party today and, amongst other matters, advised them of that.

That announces very little.

Reports from Stuff  Live: Choosing a new government on what the greens will do from there:

From what I understand speaking to Green Party people off the record, that standing conference call with their members to ratify any deal won’t be tonight. In fact it can only happen after Peters makes his decision public tomorrow (and of course only if he decides to go with the left). Which means if he does go that way we could have an announcement from Peters in the afternoon but no confirmed government until the evening.

It’s also possible that Peters could send Labour a final agreement document before actually making a decision, and the Greens could get their Labour/Greens package ratified – all before Peters makes anything public. There are going to be a lot of moving parts tomorrow morning.

Green leader James Shaw says the party will not be holding its conference call, with its up to 155 delegates, tonight.

He said the decision not to go ahead with the call tonight was made mid-afternoon.

So it predated Winston Peters’ public statement that he would make an announcement on Thursday on the result of negotiations following the 2017 General Election.

I won’t be planning my Labour weekend around this, but a few MPs and Parliamentary workers may be busy.

UPDATE: another announcement, this one from Bill English:

National is holding a caucus meeting tomorrow at 11 am in Wellington to provide MPs with an update on coalition talks. A separate teleconference will then take place with the National party board.

We stress that we have had no indication of what decision New Zealand First will make.

We have no further comment at this stage.

Some of the silliest speculation

The secrecy in government forming talks seems to have been very effective – political journalists seem to have had few if any leaks to work with. This seems to have frustrated them big time, they don’t like being excluded from the gaming.

So all they have had to write about who is arriving at and leaving meetings, the lack of progress, and speculation.

The speculation covers things like possible governing arrangements – Winston Peters has claimed their are nine possibilities, with no indication which may be preferred or more likely – and also possible policy agreements and ministerial positions.

Trying to second guess Peters is a mugs game. There are indications he doesn’t know things himself, given his time line assurances that have proven quite inaccurate.

After yesterday’s NZ First board meetings and then ‘secret’ meetings between Peters and Bill English, and separately with Jacinda Ardern, gave up nothing of substance some the speculation seemed to get sillier.

Audrey Young: Winston’s two offers: Why it could get personal

Which ever party leads the Government, New Zealand First could expect an unsolicited electoral arrangement in 2020 to assist the party’s survival in Northland or Whangarei – which would never be spoken of.

It would simply be in both parties’ interests.

Tracy Watkins: Coalition talks gather pace with secret meetings

With the policy discussions out of the way, those talks are likely to centre on ministerial portfolios, the structure of the next government – are the Greens in or out for instance – and assurances about 2020.

In National’s case that would likely require cast iron assurances that it will not try to kill NZ First off again – as it very nearly did this time round, when it ran its “cut out the middle man” campaign.

Future assurances might include an acknowledgement that NZ First is first cab off the rank in any future coalition deals – maybe even back channel commitments about an Epsom-style deal in Northland.

I think it would be utterly ridiculous to try to get commitments on the next election campaign, let alone coalition negotiation terms in future terms.

Many things could happen in the next two and a half years that could change things. One likely possibility is that Peters won’t stand again, so any assurances to him would be worthless.

Promising not to compete in a future election would be preposterous and an insult to democracy.

If either National or Labour formed a government now based in part in promises about not competing or assisting in the next campaign, and this government fell apart (and Peters has history on not lasting out a term in coalition) any governing party that was then seen to do a deal with NZ First in advance of the next election would be at high risk of being punished severely by voters.

The Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and Greens turned out to be ill advised and fell to pieces after competing power plays leadership changes. And it doesn’t seem to have done the Greens much good, appearing to have been shunted to the sidelines by Peters, aided and abetted by Labour.

Assurances by Peters have proven to be unreliable – except that one thing he has staunchly stuck to is not indicating any preference for any other party in election campaigns.

For him to make an agreement to cosy up to one or the other of Labour or National in the next election seems as likely as him campaigning in shorts and t-shirt.

In the absence of actual news speculation is bound to fill the vacuum, but it seems to be getting sillier as the limbo period continues.

Spitting out pieces of their broken luck

Like a number of party activists on blogs Anthony Robins has been busy at The Standard over the last couple of weeks trying to promote Labour’s chances of getting into government, and trying to trash National.

A recent attempt: Nats – lousy at government – “brilliant” at opposition

National have been a lousy government. They have enriched the rich and impoverished the poor. They have inflated a housing bubble and done nothing for the homeless. They have let the environment degrade and made a mockery of our global warming commitments. They have let social institutions degrade, along with practical services like health and education. They have engaged in dirty politics in blatant lies. And for what?

A common refrain from the left – exaggerated generalities.

What will they be remembered for? Oh they “got us through the financial crisis” – yeah just like every other country on the planet (and it was our slowest ever recovery from a recession).

This diss is very lame. New Zealand is acknowledged to have done very well at weathering and recovering from the GFC, and our economy is now in a relatively healthy state compared to most countries.

They “got us through the Christchurch earthquakes” – yeah ask some people who live in Christchurch about that.

There’s no doubt that many people in Christchurch have had a tough time since the earthquakes, and there is more to sort out yet.

What National are “brilliant” at is opposition. They poll and focus group relentlessly, they have heaps of money, they attack like rabid rats in a sack. They have essentially spent the last nine years running opposition against Labour. They have been very successful at this, witness Labour’s long poll doldrums, and the fact that most of the “reasons” for those doldrums are memes of the Nats making.

Robins is really trying to blame National for Labour’s poor performance and their revolving door leadership over the past nine years.

When I say “brilliant” at opposition, the quote marks are because it’s only brilliant if you accept that tactics like dirty politics and outright lies are acceptable, that the ends of power justify any means. That way lies political madness.

All politicians have difficulty avoiding lying, and National is not the only party that has resorted to dirty politics.

Aside from disgruntled opposition activists I think National is regarded to have governed reasonably well over the last nine years, although of course there have been stuff ups, failures and some sleeping at the wheel, especially over housing and health.

I think National’s 9 years compares fairly favourably to an also successful 9 years of government led by Labour’s Helen Clark. There will always be justified criticisms of any Government, but New Zealand has been led and governed relatively well and successfully so far this century.

Robins is unlikely to have any influence on the current negotiations. He is preaching to a protected niche who are already convinced that National is evil and hopeless.

That’s been happening at The Standard over the last nine years, and it’s an approach to political activism that hasn’t helped Labour’s case (or more recently and increasingly the Green’s case) for improving their credibility or gaining support.

I think it’s noteable that Labour’s recovery and rapid rise under Jacinda Ardern’s leadership is due to her positive approach to politics. She has actually commended Bill English’s stewardship of the Finance portfolio, and she has acknowledged the relative success and strength of the New Zealand economy.

Robins and The Standard seems stuck in old school negative politics. If they stopped sounding so bitter, looked at the positives, and looked at ways of doing better they would get onside with the Ardern approach to politics and would help improve left wing credibility and respect.

Spitting out pieces of their broken luck, oh, The Standard should get over that and like Ardern look at how they can build a better political environment.

Adding value is far more likely to end up in success, if not this term then put them in a strong position next term, than bashing and trashing.

(Line borrowed from Aqualung)

Negotiations, decisions could be some time yet

NZ First party discussions on who to form a government with will continue into today, and even when they make a decision it could still take time from then to know what the outcome is.

There seemed to be no great urgency to get things under way yesterday morning as NZ First MPs and board members trickled into Wellington. They were reported to start meeting at 10.30 am.

Late yesterday afternoon Winston Peters issued a brief statement:

The New Zealand First Board and Members of Parliament are continuing with their discussions around post-election negotiations.

It is expected the meeting will go on for several more hours.

Later advice was given that things wouldn’t be complete on Monday.

NZH: More talks ahead as NZ First decides on government

The nine NZ First caucus members and 14 board members were sequestered away for the day getting meals taken into them rather than leaving for food. The meeting broke soon after 6pm and the board left through a back entrance. Only NZ First MP Shane Jones left past the waiting media, saying they were going to get dinner.

…after 6pm media were told there would be no public statements and the board would return again this morning.

Peters said little during the day and would not confirm whether his discussions with one party were more advanced than another. He did confirm English was correct that he had not discussed ministerial portfolios in negotiations.

He has also said the board and caucus were yet to consider what form of government NZ First would settle on – from the cross benches to a full coalition.

Although NZ First leader Winston Peters said he expected to announce NZ First’s intentions as soon as possible after that board meeting, English said that even if NZ First made its decision on which side to go with there would have to be further negotiations before a final deal and government was settled on.

So one of Peters’ assurances, that a decision may be made by the end of this week, may be his most accurate, albeit typically vague.

And that may not be the end of it. English:

“They won’t be looking at completed agreements because there are still a number of issues related to forming a government that have not yet been dealt with. The policy discussion was completed but there is not yet an agreement including the type of government, ministerial positions to put to our caucus or party board.”

He said working out those final details should not take long although if NZ First continued to negotiate with both sides on those issues it could be more difficult because of the added “complexity” on the Labour side because of the inclusion of the Green Party.

The Greens appear to be yet to take any options to the party for consideration.

The Green Party has also again held off holding its Special General Meeting to seek 75 per cent approval from about 150 delegates for its deal with Labour. It has been ready to hold that meeting for days.

If the delegates don’t reach agreement it may have to go to all party members for consultation and making a decision, if one can be made. There may be some concerns over getting into a governing arrangement when NZ First seem to have so much sway.

Earlier, Peters had told Newstalk ZB it was a complex decision and all options for a government formation were still on the table – from the cross benches to a full coalition. He wanted the party to decide based on policy gains rather than ministerial roles.

He said NZ First had worked over the weekend to firm up the precise agreements with National and Labour, and contact had been “reasonably extensive”.

So negotiations were nowhere near complete by Thursday, the original deadline indicated by Peters.

I don’t care how long they take, but media seem to be getting increasingly frustrated with being strung along without getting any stories of substance to report on.

Do we need government formation rules?

While I think that many voters care little if at all that we don’t have a new government yet, but the political limbo has given the media a chance to fill the vacuum with calls for a different, quicker or more definite way of forming governments.

It is obvious that one thing the media hates is not being talked to, and National and Labour in particular have very effectively stone-walled on negotiations. There has been a unusual lack of leaks of information, hence the media consternation.

But it’s worth questioning whether we need a more definite way of forming a government after an election. There is some justified concern that a 7% party leader seems to be calling most of the shots.

Stacey Kirk: Reining in a kingmaker requires integrity above politics. Are our lot capable?

‘Our lot’ doesn’t refer to the media, who are largely responsible for creating the Winston as kingmaker thing.

New Zealand has had MMP for 21 years now, a relative infancy. It’s time MMP evolved.

The negotiation process to deliver New Zealand its next Government has given a 7 per cent party more power than either of the major parties.

It isn’t the process that has given Peters this power. It was created largely by media, and has been allowed to happen this way by National and Labour. It is not the system that’s the problem, it’s those who don’t use the system well – both politicians and journalists.

The leverage, of course, diminishes the second the governing group sign together on the dotted line, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that a 7 per cent party will likely get more than a 7 per cent share of the spoils in Government, such is the way NZ First leader Winston Peters is allowed to play the major parties off one another.

We don’t know yet, but it’s little different to the last seven MMP elections where potentially parties with small levels of support can appear to negotiate more than their share.

But this can’t be measured let alone controlled.

If ever there was a case for a written rulebook for the weeks following the election, the unedifying farce that’s played out the past three weeks would be it.

Has it really been a farce? Peters has been caught out failing to keep a promise, and making excuses and deferring to his board, but apart from that the most unedifying thing has been how media have conducted themselves, demanding answers before they can be given.

Enter the governor-general.

It’s a largely ceremonial role, but it’s not without power in New Zealand. In the UK – although they work to a First Past the Post system – the Queen still invites the largest party to attempt to form a Government in her name.

As a post-election convention, that makes even more sense under MMP and we should allow our governor-general to do it.

Following a buffer period until the special votes are counted and finalised, where absolutely nothing happens, the governor-general would allow the largest party a set period of time to attempt to form a Government.

That is a reasonable suggestion that merits consideration.

Should they fail in that time, then the opportunity is passed to the next-largest party.

And that is a sensible progression.

The burden of power is at least partially more weighted towards the major party holding the negotiations, rather than a minnow cracking a long whip. And perhaps most importantly, there is less danger of a 7 per cent party negotiating for far more than 7 per cent of the power.

It has been ridiculous to see Peters orchestrating the negotiations, but it needs to be remembered that National, Labour and the Greens have allowed him to do that. Parties with a combined vote of 87.6% of the vote enabled peters to call the shots. That’s not Winston’s fault, nor the system’s fault.

No legislation can force proportional power on negotiations and outcomes of government forming.

But it does make sense to give the party getting the most votes in an election the right to have say two weeks after the writ has been returned to try to form a government. If they fail then the next largest party gets a shot at it.

This certainty would make it easier for parties to begin talking and negotiating before the final results as they would know the likely outcome.

It would stop a small party from dictating the terms of negotiations.

It’s worth noting that NZ First has 7.2% of the vote, but we could have been in the same situation if they had only five MPs rather than 9.

After last election ACT or United Future or the Maori Party could have tried to call the shots. They didn’t, and the media hadn’t spent a year talking them up as potential kingmakers, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen next election.

If there was a rule that the largest party runs negotiations and and has a set time to try to form a government it would reduce the chances of parties misusing the system as has happened this time.

It seems reasonably democratic to me.

And it would give the media some degree of certainty, albeit a small amount, in the limbo period after an election.

Greens – selling their soul for baubles for Winston?

The Greens have always claimed they are a party of integrity and principle.

But they appear to be so desperate to have some involvement in the next government that they have virtually given Labour a blank signed cheque and are relying on anothe party to negotiate a deal with NZ First that includes Greens, and that maybe gives the Greens some sort of policy wins.

Throughout the election campaign and since their leader James Shaw insisted that they were campaigning to ‘change the government’ and they couldn’t possibly do any sort of a deal with National. Their integrity was at stake.

But Shaw seems to have capitulated almost equal power that NZ First has  (based on their respective party votes) and handed over their future to Labour negotiators.

The Greens have had a number of meetings with Labour, but Winston Peters has refused to allow them to be directly involved in negotiations trying to form a new government.

It has been reported that Labour have been bound by a confidentiality agreement not to tell the Greens what was being negotiated between Labour and NZ First.

From Stuff: Winston Peters will take both options to the NZ First board after Thursday night

Peters has suggested that if a Government was to be formed with Labour, then the inclusion of the Greens as a headline party would be a “gross misrepresentation”.

The NZ First leader was responding to questions over whether it was his understanding that the Green Party would be voting to accept the Labour-NZ First deal, or whether they would simply be voting to approve their deal in separate negotiations with Labour.

It comes from questions over whether the Greens were at the mercy of Labour to fight their corner in dealings with NZ First.

Peters appears to be treating the Greens with contempt. For someone who demands to be treated with respect, whether he deserves it or not, this is highly hypocritical.

And the Greens are letting him treat them with contempt.

Labour have been left trying to negotiate on behalf of the Greens, an awkward position for them, and a weakened position. Labour will not have been able to push hard for their own benefit and policy wins if they have also had to negotiate for the Greens.

Peters has has ruled out including the Greens in partnership talks, forcing Shaw and his team to negotiate with Labour in parallel and in isolation to NZ First negotiations.

Peters said he had nothing against Green Party leader James Shaw.

“You know full well… I’ve never had a bad word with him, or about him that you could possibly quote because I’ve never said something bad about him in my career.”

Has Peters ever said anything about Shaw? He doesn’t need to say anything to show his disdain for a rookie idealist who has been an MP for just 3 years, a party leader for two, and was left trying to save a highly dysfunctional party 6 weeks before the election when co-leader Metiria Turei and two senior MPs stood down.

Shaw confirmed his trust in Ardern to negotiate a deal that won’t see his party locked out in the cold, or pushed beneath NZ First.

He is relying almost entirely on what Labour negotiate for the Greens. Remarkable.

As Government talks enter into their fourth day, Shaw emerged from a two-hour long meeting with Labour and said he was confident he could trust Labour would argue a fair deal on their behalf.

“Jacinda made fairness one of her principle values in the campaign, I’ve known her a number of years and, I said this before the election, I trust her and she seems to be doing a good job of it.

Ardern does seem fair minded – but she has also shown signs of having a ruthless political streak. And she has a responsibility to put the interests of Labour ahead of the Greens.

It just happens that she needs the Greens, and the Greens need Labour

“It’s got to be a stable and responsible Government that’s going to go the full distance in the national interest. Labour are working very hard on ensuring that that happens. That’s of paramount concern to all of us,” he said.

Shaw said he was confident he would be happy with the deal Labour eventually presented to them, but all the partners had to be “pretty sure” of their Government’s direction to ensure stability.

This is alarmingly vague. It looks like Shaw is so desperate to be a part of the next Government he has handed over everything, Green hopes, Green principals and Green integrity, to another political party that is negotiating with a third party that treats him and the Greens with contempt.

“It’s got to be a stable and responsible Government that’s going to go the full distance in the national interest” is going to be either fraught with disappointment and tension, or the Greens are going to be compliant doormats for a Labour-NZ First government.

Peters may enjoy the power he has imposed over the Greens, but how could he see any respect in using them to enable and prop up a government he has concocted?

The Greens had a huge scare this election, dipping below the make or break threshold in polls before recovering enough to survive.

But survival may be a three year battle if they end up making up numbers to enable a government in which one of the other parties has treated them with open contempt, and the other party tried to poach their policies and votes and then stitched up a deal for them when they needed each other.

And losing respect and integrity is just one problem for the Greens. In an email Shaw sent to part supporters on Wednesday, ironically titled We’ve accomplished so much!, Shaw explained:

Although the Green MPs tithe 10% back to the Party (they always have) we now have sixfewer MPs to pay into the coffers this election cycle.

They have dropped from 14 to 8 MPs.

And right now with the campaign bills still to pay, we have a shortfall despite the chance of now being at the heart of a new progressive government.

They have overspent in their campaign?

They will also have less resources in Parliament – fewer MPs means fewer support staff and researchers.

It could be a tough term for the Greens whether they are a tacked on part of the next Government or not.

And with fewer MPs able to travel (tax payer funded) around the country campaigning the next election could be difficult as well.

Especially if they have sold their soul for baubles for Winston.

NZ First decision Monday, Tuesday, maybe

Inexplicably Winston Peters changed from a promise of a decision on the new Government by Thursday to deferring the decision to the NZ First board. And indicating this may have been an unexpected change of mind the board wasn’t anywhere near ready to meet and decide.

The current plan is for the NZ First board to assemble in Wellington on Monday and to meet all day, and then for the NZ First caucus to make a decision, and then announce it, maybe on Monday night, maybe on Tuesday, maybe.

This suggests that the negotiations have not gone to plan for Peters. It suggests that there has been more to discuss and work out than he anticipated, or that the decision is not as clear cut as he thought it would be. He claimed that he had no idea which way the decision should go.

This may mean that both National and Labour have given him heaps of policy concessions.

Or it may mean they have both played hardball, and offered NZ First policies in keeping with their 7.2% level of support.

Peters has said that now the offers are on the table there may be minor clarifications sought but no more meetings and no more negotiations.

“No. There will be clarification, but contrary to whatever is said we are not running a Dutch auction here.”

That suggests that both the deals may be good enough for him to go with as they are.

But can we take Peters at his word? Hardly. A fresh look at things by the board could feasibly raise overlooked issues.

And will that be the final word? Does anyone know?

It sounds like both National and Labour are waiting for Peters to announce the NZ First decision. We don’t know if that will be the final decision, or whether National or Labour can then choose to opt in or opt out.

And then there’s the Greens, but that’s worth a post on it’s own.

We have been assured of a NZ First decision by Monday or Tuesday or however long it takes, but that will be followed by public reaction, media reaction and possible reaction from National and Labour party members and supporters.

There is no real urgency, but there is no certainty either about what will happen next week.

There are other parties, and they’re saying little

While Winston Peters holds centre stage day after day National and Labour are saying as little as possible about ongoing negotiations.

James Shaw keeps highlighting how weak he and the Greens are.

Stuff: Winston Peters will take both options to the NZ First board after Thursday night

Labour’s Jacinda Ardern did not stop to talk to media on her way to or from her team’s last meeting of the day with NZ First.

On the way into the 6.30pm meeting she said she still had “plenty of stamina” while walking past reporters.

On her way out of the meeting she kept her eyes averted and did not answer any questions.

After past meetings Ardern has said things are going very well and she is absolutely positive etc but the Labour team haven’t looked filled with glee or confidence.

James Shaw and the Greens seem to have resigned themselves to relying on Labour to negotiate for them.

Peters has ruled out including the Greens in partnership talks, forcing Shaw and his team to negotiate with Labour in parallel and in isolation to NZ First negotiations.

As Government talks enter into their fourth day, Shaw emerged from a two-hour long meeting with Labour and said he was confident he could trust Labour would argue a fair deal on their behalf.

“Jacinda made fairness one of her principle values in the campaign, I’ve known her a number of years and, I said this before the election, I trust her and she seems to be doing a good job of it.

“It’s got to be a stable and responsible Government that’s going to go the full distance in the national interest. Labour are working very hard on ensuring that that happens. That’s of paramount concern to all of us,” he said.

Shaw said he was confident he would be happy with the deal Labour eventually presented to them, but all the partners had to be “pretty sure” of their Government’s direction to ensure stability.

This sounds very vague and weak from Shaw. If they can’t stand up to Peters and insist on being included before a government is set up how confident can anyone be of them playing a meaningful part in a government?

It was suggested yesterday that the greens may be having a special general meeting last night. Perhaps that was to get party approval to hand their future totally over to Labour.

Bill English and the National negotiators have found a route to and from the meetings that avoids media contact. National are not revealing anything about the negotiations.

English has even worked out a route to the second floor Beehive room where talks are being held that neatly avoids the media, so there is no chance of upstaging Peters on his many media standups on his way to and from the Beehive.

From Stuff: Winston Peters says he’s going to change New Zealand – where is his mandate?

The two major parties have given Peters the run of the Beehive while Bill English and Jacinda Ardern keep a low profile to avoid upsetting the famously capricious NZ First leader.

So fearful are both major parties of losing the upper hand in the negotiations they’ve agreed to blanket silence while Peters apparently has free licence to talk.

Peters has claimed everything is confidential but keeps talking to the media.

English and Ardern are saying as little as possible.

Shaw just looks hapless. The Greens becoming the heart of a new progressive government looks a forlorn ideal now.

Winston Peters is grandstanding his way towards what he hopes will be a grand finale to his political career.

The others are looking like grovellers, especially Shaw.