Watching their faces as the elevator doors opened was priceless. These are the people who like to skulk in the shadows, certainly away from the prying eyes of the media.

Unfortunately for them the media was told to gather in the core of the Beehive to be ferried up to the 10th floor of the building to see the first meeting on the new, old Cabinet.

First out of the lift was the burly former Police Commissioner Howard Broad who's now the head of security and intelligence for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The next, who seemed surprised to see the large media contingent waiting, were chests of medals representing the military top brass, including Lieutenant General Tim Keating.


They wandered off, scratching their heads.

The next out of the lift and beating a hasty retreat was our top domestic spy Rebecca Kitteridge.

There was, no doubt, a collective sigh of relief as they exited the building, away from the cameras and without being asked a question.

For once the interest wasn't in them, it was in those who'd gathered around the Cabinet table, power-smiling for the media with Bill English slipping comfortably into the highest-backed chair in the room.

Paula Bennett was already looking enviously at it, commenting on the size of it, and probably secretly hoping that one day it'll be accommodating her back.

Perhaps it's the highest-backed chair in the room as a form of armour to keep the knives at bay.

Earlier, up at Government House the final class of 2016 was again posing for the cameras with four of the five boys in the front row, including English, sitting with their clenched fists resting on their thighs, just like the rugger teams do.

Gerry Brownlee, squeezed in between Bennett and Amy Adams, took a more casual approach with unclenched hands resting on his ample thighs, clearly comfortable with again being part of the so-called 'Kitchen Cabinet', the insiders who really call the shots.


With a third of the Cabinet now made up of women, English was asked afterwards whether he was a feminist and said he wouldn't describe himself as one because he doesn't quite know what it means.

It sounded a bit like the stubborn Andrew Little who doesn't know what the centre of politics is.

Yeah, well by election time, if English wants to appeal to more than half of New Zealand voters, he'd better start to understand feminism, and if Little wants to collar the floating vote he'd do well to understand the centre.