In Foreign Affairs high commissions and embassies around the world they usually have a framed photo of the Prime Minister in the foyer. They could now be forgiven for slipping one of their own minister alongside hers.

Winston Peters is the darling of the ministry, just like he was the last time he was their leading politician.

Last time he'd lined up a $600 million spend but the election intervened and the scalpel of Murray McCully was wielded.

This time Peters has got in early, extracting almost a billion dollars from the Budget coffers for his ministry and for aid over the next four years - at a time when most are tightening their belts, leaving Labour to break promises.


Peters has the power and he's using it and if you agree with the idiom that you've got to spend money to make money, then he's on the mark.

He impressed his audience of diplomats and NGOs last night, underscoring this country's place in the world. Peters said on the world stage that people look over your shoulder looking at what you've spent and said to have to cope with a budget where this country was heading he'd rather give the job to somebody else, it was so embarrassing.

It's true McCully significantly cut the foreign affairs spend, shaving a hundred diplomats by Peters' count, and acting like deserters in our Pacific neighbourhood.

The new minister's going on a diplomat recruitment drive, reopening our embassy in Sweden where he reckons we can do business in that region, and pouring the lion's share of his new money, more than $700 million, into Pacific aid.

This re-energised Foreign Minister's adamant the Pacific must remain peaceful, free from the shafts of strife and war that affect many other parts of the world and he reasons if we're not there some other influence will be. Given the growing influence of China, maybe he's too late.

He didn't mention China, he didn't need to. But this man, who in his last Foreign Affairs incarnation opposed the lucrative free trade agreement with the People's Republic, has been converted on the road back to the Beehive, declaring "we are a country that trades or dies".

In his enthusiasm to outline his vision to his enthusiastic audience Peters appeared to have a Jacob Zuma moment when the former South African president repeatedly confused the membership numbers of the ANC. Peters crowed twice that we've been a parliamentary democracy since 1984, the year of the 'schnapps election' here, when he meant 1854.

His audience willingly forgave him, they were simply intoxicated by his message.