National Party leadership contenders all claim they are resisting appealing to the MPs' baser instincts by refusing to offer roles or senior positions as part of their leadership bids.
The vote by National's 56 MPs will be held next Tuesday to choose between Mark Mitchell, Steven Joyce, Amy Adams, Judith Collins and Simon Bridges as the new National leader.
It is understood some MPs have made it clear which roles they are interested in but all candidates said they have steered clear of promising positions to MPs to secure support.
Judith Collins has said she had spoken to some people about the role of deputy, but had not offered any roles out.
Simon Bridges also said he was not making any promises because a new leader needed flexibility to make such decisions.
"My focus is on becoming leader of the National Party and it is only after that those conversations would take place."
Amy Adams is the only one to have secured public endorsements from four MPs, but said she was campaigning on her own merits rather than offering roles as inducements.
"I've just decided that's the approach I think is the one that would give me, if I am the future leader, the space and flexibility to make the calls that give us the best chance of winning."
She did not know what her rivals were doing, saying most MPs were being discreet about their conversations with others.
"Each candidate makes their own calls about how they want to run their own campaign."
Steven Joyce said he did not believe it was appropriate.
"I just don't think it's the right way to go about things. People choose which way they approach things."
When Mark Mitchell first announced his bid, he said he would like Steven Joyce to stay on as finance spokesman but had not discussed that with Joyce. He said yesterday he was not offering anything up to his colleagues.
The new leader will have to consider where to position their nearest challengers once the vote on leader is done, and all will be keeping the finance portfolio open to cater for that.
If not leader, it is likely Bridges, Adams and Joyce would want finance, while Jonathan Coleman is also understood to be interested in it.
Things could change as the contest nears. Whip Jami-Lee Ross said it was completely up to the candidates to decide how they worked with their colleagues.
The prospects of a negotiated deal to thin down the field now appear thin. All candidates have said they intended to see it through to the bitter end.
There is just one more day of Parliament sitting before the MPs meet next Tuesday to vote and the contestants were making the most of having their colleagues around to lobby for support.
The five involved are not allowed to ask questions in Parliament while the contest is underway – perhaps because they mocked Labour's line-up of candidates for taking turns asking questions during a leadership contest.
There was some teasing from those in Parliament, including NZ First leader Winston Peters who set out the odds for each contestant. He put Bridges and Joyce at 500–1 while Amy Adams was at 30-1 and Collins and Mitchell the frontrunners on 10–1. He added that Mitchell was playing the long game, and positioning himself for the leadership in future – but added a warning: "He should be very careful, because he might get what he wants too soon."
For Labour too there was some delight in seeing the shoe on the other foot after going through similar changes over nine years.
New MP Deborah Russell observed National was divided in five but added some were clearly relying on their imaginary friends for votes.
"There they are: divided, self-obsessed, dragging themselves into fighting in contumely. It is such a contrast with this side of the House, a side of the House that is a united team with a leader and three parties working together for the good of all New Zealanders."