To the victors the spoils of a formal anointment at the swearing-in of the new Prime Minister and his Cabinet today.
But to the losers - those National MPs who missed out on John Key's promise of a brighter future - there was the walk past the gauntlet of a media hungry for a tantrum on their way into caucus.
The responses ranged from ominous silence from Maurice Williamson to an attempt to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear that is the Internal Affairs portfolio by Richard Worth.
The sometimes stroppy Tau Henare - a former Maori Affairs Minister in the 1990s - was philosophical about missing out on ministerial posts.
"The day after I felt like Piri Weepu not being picked for the World Cup team. But we all know where he is tomorrow" - a reference to Weepu's recall to be stand-in captain for the All Blacks' game against Munster.
Mr Henare was even gracious when asked if his job prospects were sacrificed for National's deal with the Maori Party: "If that is true, I will go to my grave thinking, 'Wow, what a cool thing to do."'
Mr Key had given some of them a glimpse of hope for the future, saying his modus operandi was to reward those whose talents he rated and that party whips Nathan Guy and Chris Tremain were clearly future "Cabinet material".
There seemed no such hope of redemption for Mr Williamson, who was kicked off the front bench and into a ministerial post outside the Cabinet.
When Mr Key was asked if he gave Mr Williamson any hopes of future promotion, he answered bluntly, "No, I did not."
He said he had spoken to Mr Williamson "and he understood the decision I made".
"Like anyone who joins the wider Executive, they have a choice whether to accept the offered position or not. Obviously he accepted, so that's a sign he's on board."
He acknowledged it was possible some MPs were reconsidering their futures, but when asked if any had said they wanted to leave, replied: "There's been no dummy spitting, if that's what you're asking."
Richard Worth - understood to have been keen on Attorney-General or a Speaker's post - took the gritted-teeth approach when phoned about his job outside Cabinet as Minister of Internal Affairs. He answered every question with, "I am very happy with the positions I have got."
He then set to work making a silk purse out of a sow's ear, saying internal affairs was meatier than he initially thought and gave him a range of "truly challenging" tasks.
"I haven't exactly got to the bottom of what those tasks are, but even in the last hour they keep on developing."
But it took John Carter - who was the party's senior whip for many years - to show how it should really be done. He was "bloody ecstatic" with being a minister, despite being outside the Cabinet and not getting the Speaker's role he sought.
"I'm over the moon. I'm just glad I got recognised with a position. It's a real honour and I'm glad to be part of the team. I worked for 21 years toget there and I finally have andthat's a great satisfaction to me."
Dr Paul Hutchison admitted he was disappointed when Mr Key rang him with bad news on Sunday night. He had hoped for a post in tertiary education, science or disability issues.
"He made the comment I'm the one who should feel most hard done by of all. So yeah, I was pretty disappointed. But there is always hope. I'm a perennial optimist."
He hoped to be able to chair a select committee instead.
Mr Key also had to defend his choice of Lockwood Smith as Speaker from disgruntlement from Labour leader Phil Goff. Mr Key said Dr Smith had a strong respect for the institution of Parliament, had served for a long time and brought the "appropriate gravitas" to the job.
He said Dr Smith should be judged on the entirety of his career, rather than on the one blunder he made in the campaign about the size of Asian people's hands.By Claire Trevett @CTrevettNZH Email Claire