If you've ever wondered whether Winston Peters is a shrewd political operator, then wonder no longer.
The new Cabinet will be announced today but the policy platform, and the ministries that have been claimed by New Zealand First, reads like its 2020 election manifesto.
The party has a couple of critical seats in the regions it'd like to massage between now and then and what better way to do it than by holding the Regional Development Ministry which will go to Shane Jones, not known for his work rate, but a Labour Minister of Economic Development will be able to help out with that. It means Jones will get to write the cheques and have his name on the plaques.
The Regional Development Fund's been hiked to a billion bucks, well up on Labour's piddling $200 million, by Peters in the agreement which means the 10 bridges promised during the Northland byelection will probably now get built given they'll also have the Infrastructure Ministry. He'll have won favour with the farmers too, the irrigation tax is out but a water bottler tax for exporters is in.
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And Peters has looked after his constituents, a super-duper Gold Card's on the way for pensioners who'll also now get their pay cheque at 65 rather than at 67 as legislated for by National. And just to reinforce their commitment to the old codgers, they're taking the ministries for Seniors and Veterans' Affairs.
The party's also got its eye on urban New Zealand, like taking the Ministry for Children which will deliver free doctors' visits for under 14-year-olds. NZ First originally gave it to under 6-year-olds. And then there's increasing the minimum wage to 20 bucks an hour which was better than was on offer from Labour.
Labour's coalition partner has also wheedled its way on to the honours committee meaning it can look after its benefactors when it comes to gongs.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will be able to contemplate the kingdom he's created as he flits around the world as Foreign Minister and enjoy the cocktail circuit in the provinces when he's home as Racing Minister.
If it becomes all too much for any of his eight colleagues, then they're unlikely to have a leg to stand on with waka jumping changes being planned to stop any of his MPs jumping ship and then staying on in Parliament, as they did the last time they were in a full coalition agreement with National.
So for New Zealand First this is a very tidy deal, just as it is for the Greens who're finally sticking to their knitting, even if they are outside the Cabinet door with Climate Change and Conservation along with associate roles in the environment and transport with finance chucked in for good measure.
Oh and Winston Peters and James Shaw will finally be in the same room today, when they're sworn in at Government House.