New Govt under pragmatic young leader can lead way on big issues of our times.

Parliamentary pratfalls - no matter how entertaining - will not be how the Ardern Government is judged by the grown ups.

The Ardern Administration is displaying considerable pragmatism in its first days in power.

The disorder in Parliament yesterday where National MPs outfoxed the governing coalition - for a time denying a vote on the new Speaker of the House - was a useful demonstration that the Opposition is a force to contend with.

But when it comes to the serious stuff of getting policy changes through Parliament, the ruling Coalition and its support partner have the voting power.


Workarounds have already become the favoured mechanism as Cabinet Ministers marry their wish to deliver on election promises with the realities of running a government.

Ardern is a quick study.

In Australia, there is still some lingering negative comment about "Socialist Cindy's" leftish leanings.

But she made a realistic fist of her first meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Labour party activists and their colleagues in the Green Party should by now be getting to realise there are limits to prime ministerial power.

Ardern will prosecute issues hard.

But she was schooled by her predecessor the arch-pragmatist Helen Clark. Hence, she sucked it up when Turnbull denied her request for New Zealand to settle 150 refugees from Manus Island here.

There is sufficient of the investment banker still in the Australian prime minister's veins not to leave Ardern without some face.


Australia might look at the offer again if the US - which is Turnbull's preferred avenue for resettlement - does not follow through.

The more interesting diplomatic gambit was the agreement reached by the two Prime Ministers to use a mutual exchange of letters to guarantee the mechanism for settling investor disputes between companies and governments, instead of the mechanism laid down in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Like the earlier mechanism for achieving a ban on foreigners buying residential houses in New Zealand there is considerable diplomatic and legal craft involved.

Trade Minister David Parker and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will be outlining these subtle policy shifts when they meet their counterparts in Vietnam ahead of the Prime Minister's own visit for the Apec Leaders Meeting.

If all goes to plan and the TPP-11 is agreed by the relevant Apec leaders it will be a triumph for Ardern and Parker. They will be able to argue that National did not try hard enough to protect New Zealand's domestic interests in the TPP negotiations.

What is notable about the Government's settling-in period is Peters' absence from the fray.

In this period where Ardern is establishing her own prime ministerial brand, her deputy has been in the background.

On September 19, Peters chose Labour to lead the Government saying NZ First had to make a choice. The choice was "whether it was with either National or Labour, for a modified status quo, or for change".

There is no doubt that this is a Coalition of Change. Firstly, there is generational change in the leadership. Our 37-year-old female leader joins a raft of others around the world who are 40 or under.

Ardern has no personal memory of the conditions which drove radical change in NZ in 1984.

When she says, "We want what you had" - free education; the right to buy your own home and full employment, Ardern takes the battle to the Baby Boomers.

This style has already delivered. Ardern can take heart that her Government is being treated with a degree of curiosity elsewhere.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - the well-regarded International Business Editor of the Daily Telegraph - wrote this past week on the impact of Labour's planned reform to New Zealand's monetary policy framework.

"The cult of inflation targeting began in New Zealand in the late 80s. We may date its demise to a remarkable ideological pivot in the same country 30 years later, and with it the end of central bank ascendancy across the world," wrote Evans-Pritchard in an article headlined "Apostasy in New Zealand spells end of global central bank era".

"Let us at least hope that the great monetary misadventure has burned itself out".

There was plenty more besides.

Judging by the details of a review of the Reserve Bank outlined by Finance Minister Grant Robertson yesterday, what lies ahead may fall short of an ideological pivot.

Robertson says the central bank's focus will be broadened from controlling inflation to include employment.

The importance of Evans-Pritchard's article is that it is not alarmist. There is genuine interest in what Robertson - and Parker who did the initial work on Labour's economic policies - have in store.

Grappling with the impact of changes in the world of work; ageing workforces; the population explosion - all these are high-level issues that are engaging the most forward-thinking minds.

Get this right and this Labour Government may yet tread a revolutionary path in the manner of its forebears.