MMP was voted in because of growing discontent that parties did not keep their election promises but under MMP we expect parties not to keep all of their promises because they are bargained away.

That is what we see in the deals Labour has made with New Zealand First and the Greens.

Policies may be softened by a bigger coalition partner as being unreasonable or costing too much, such as shifting the Auckland Port to Northland (a feasibility study will be done) or be scuttled by a powerful smaller party, such as Labour's tax on irrigators.

On the basis of the agreement released, it is not yet possible to tell whether it will a Government of radical change, as New Zealand First wanted, or whether it is one that modifies the status quo.

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That will become apparent in May next year when Grant Robertson delivers his first Budget with the plans to implement the gains.

The two agreements are vastly different in their content and the way they are written, and they reflect the types of parties they are.

The New Zealand First agreement is a check list of things that will be done by the next election. You can see the campaign ads now, with a checklist.

NZ First leader Winston Peters and incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signing their coalition agreement at Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell
NZ First leader Winston Peters and incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signing their coalition agreement at Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell

It covers 13 different policy areas and an "Others" subheading for the potpourri of policy gains that didn't quite fit into the 13 - such as "build a museum to commemorate the Maori Battalion at Waitangi," and "support New Zealand First's racing policy" and "hold a full-scale review into retail power pricing".

The Green Party deal, by contrast, is divided into just three subheadings instead of 13: Sustainable Economy, Health Environment, and Fair Society.

The deal is less of a checklist and more of a set of mission statements about what sort of place it wants New Zealand to be, for example: "Reduce congestion and carbon emissions by substantially increasing investment in a safe walking and cycling, frequent and affordable passenger transport, rail and sea freight."

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It has won tangible gains such as a $100 million green investment fund for low-carbon industries, not quite as much as the $1 billion regional development fund for New Zealand First.

Greens leader James Shaw and incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a press conference after signing their confidence and supply agreement. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Greens leader James Shaw and incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a press conference after signing their confidence and supply agreement. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The two partner parties have won handsome ministerial portfolios that will be allocated formally tomorrow.

The parties will be judged by the ongoing conduct of those minister as well as their ability to implement their side of the deal.

In Jacinda Ardern they have an ally. She has gone out of her way in her media appearances since being handed power last Thursday to acknowledge her partner parties, New Zealand First and the Greens, and it looks as though that willingness to help brand partners will continue.

With the concentration on them, and much of the dealing having been confidential, the bit that has been missing is the Labour brand.