Monday morning caucus. I sat down next to Jacinda, and examined her.

"You're looking a bit peaky," I said.

"Sorry, what?"

"Peaky," I said. "You're looking a bit peaky."


"No, I'm good," she said.

"Are you? Are you really?"

"Yes. But, you know, thanks for asking."

The meeting was due to begin. A few ministers were gossiping and laughing at the door. Phil Twyford was miming putting on a jacket in an aeroplane. James Shaw was blowing on his peppermint tea. What a rabble. They're in for the fright of their lives. They're going to get a goddamned rocket.

"Any day now," I said to Jacinda.

"Sorry, what?"

"The baby. Due any day."



"Any minute."

"Well, I don't know about that. I mean I'm not going to give birth during caucus."

"But if you did," I said, "then the important thing to remember is that everything will carry on without you. You're not to worry yourself about Government, and how it's going to be managed. It's going to be managed just fine. You worry about the baby. You worry about him."

"Or her," she said.

"Sorry, what?"

"Her. It could be a girl."

"Yes," I sighed. "A girl."


Tuesday morning haircut. "The usual," I said.

He brushed my hair for an hour, and said, "There you go."

I sat in the chair and studied all the angles.

He said, "Something wrong?"

"June 17 looms," I said. "I want to look my best."

"You always look your best."

"I know," I said. "But still. What if there was a hair out of place?"

I sat in the chair and we studied all the angles.


Wednesday morning sauna. David Seymour came in. I said, "Get out."

He said, "This is a democracy."

"No it isn't," I said. "Get out."


Thursday morning haircut. We found a hair out of place.

"Well, that's never happened before," the barber said. He got to work with the brush. But that single hair refused to obey.

That's politics for you. You can see the big picture, you can work hard towards the ultimate prize, but if you're not careful, if you're not vigilant, the smallest of details can trip you up. I've been careful. I've been vigilant. No one understands how to play the game as well as I have. I've outlasted them all. From Muldoon to English, they've come and gone, and I'm still standing. It's taken a supreme effort and I'm not going to relax now.

"This," said the barber, waving a pair of scissors, "or this?"

I nodded at the Grecian 2000.


Friday morning Koru Lounge breakfast. "With ice, please," I told the barman.

I toasted myself in the mirror. Only one more week to wait. June 17 looms...

"Hello there! Mind if I join you?", said Jacinda.

"Please," I said.

She took a while to manoeuvre herself into the chair.

"Phew," she said.

I said, "How's – what's his name again? The fisherman."

"Clarke," she said. "He's good. But what about you? How are you? Feeling okay about taking the reins?"

"Oh," I said, "You mean becoming the Prime Minister? If I'm honest, I've barely given it a thought."

"Acting," she said.

"Sorry, what?"

She said, "Acting. You forgot the 'acting'. You're becoming the acting Prime Minister."
I looked deep into my glass.