For the next six weeks or so Winston Peters will be able to be the man he is with the job he's coveted for so long.

When he rises in Parliament's bear pit to answer a question on behalf of the real Prime Minister he's currently referred to as "she, her or madam" which delights Peters' opponents.

But far from being emasculated, he knows he's always been the actual power behind this prime ministerial throne ever since he anointed Jacinda Ardern as the top dog in October last year.

Peters knew the risk he was taking for his beloved party with the coalition scourge, where small parties are swallowed up by the big player.


Only this time you could be forgiven for thinking the 7 per cent party was actually 77 per cent.

New Zealand First dominates this Parliament and you only have to look at the coalition demands if you have any doubt about it.

The Peters' billion dollar patronage of Foreign Affairs, money he wanted to give them the last time he had the job, but the election intervened.

The winner takes the booty, as Shane Jones declared, with the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund where the party wants to build its vote, particularly in Northland where so far most of the money's gone.

And the dollop of dollars for pretty race horses courtesy of the industry's minister, Winston Peters.

The outburst last week by Jones, calling for Fonterra chairman John Wilson to catch the next cab out of town, after a few months back telling the Air New Zealand chairman and chief executive to do the same thing, shows they can say what they like and get away with it.

It's simply not good enough for Jacinda Ardern to say after his latest lambaste that he was speaking personally.

As a Cabinet Minister he's poking his nose in somebody's else's business and isn't entitled to personal views in such circumstances.


That's the public face of New Zealand First that we're all well aware of.

Behind the Beehive bomb shelter thick, concrete walls Peters is the commander in chief. All press releases are run through his office and legislation gets the once over before it's introduced to the House.

The raft of appointments that have been, and are being made by the Government, gets the once over from the representatives of the 7 per cent, with some things being held up to extract the best political advantage from them.

In fairness the Greens also get a squizz at stuff that's about to go public but on the rare occasion they object, they're scoffed at especially if it's been given the green light from the real coalition cobbers.

A Beehive insider says when Peters or one of his minions throw a spanner in the works, which is a fairly common occurrence, Labour wears it with a good natured ribbing that it's the work of the wily old fox.

They're loathe to become the little pigs on the spit, the soon to be Mr Prime Minister knows best.