Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of my term as Acting Prime Minister.
The past six weeks have fairly flown by. It seems like only yesterday I walked into the Prime Minister's office and changed the locks.

I must say the views are good. Many is the hour I've stood at the windows and stared out over the harbour and the hills. At night, like tonight, I turn out the lights, and pull up a chair. I toast my reflection. Here's to you. He always winks back at me.

But the office is a bit smaller than I thought it would be. Certainly there's room to swing a cat if one felt like swinging a cat, and who doesn't yield to that urge now and then? I may have submitted to it now and then during my career but always within limits. You can swing a cat too far in this game - you only have to look at Gareth Morgan.


He wasn't cut out for it, plain and simple. "New Zealanders aren't interested in policy," he said. Well, of course they are. If it's one thing I know it's New Zealanders. They'll want to discuss policy and ideas with you all day long, but one thing they don't want is for someone to do all the talking.

You've got to listen. You've got to take the time.

There was a knock on the door.

"Go away," I called out, and refilled the glass.


It's no bigger than a closet under the stairs when you get right down to it. It's not like I'll miss it when Ardern returns.

Ardern returns. Everything about her has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Everything she does turns to gold. English made the mistake of scorning it. "Stardust," he said. Well, look where it got him. Mr Nobody now. He got what was his coming to him. So did Key. I twisted his ears over the Teapot Tapes...That was when everyone thought I was out of the game, had been cast out in the wilderness. But I knew my time would come.

It's strange. I miss those days. I miss the fight.

When you get right down it, what's there to do now?


Labour deputy Kelvin Davis led a round of applause as I left the office for the final time.

I didn't turn around to take a last look, I just walked out. It's all good.


"Well," Ardern said, smiling from ear to ear. "What's been happening?"

"The nurses walked off the job."

"But they walked back," she grinned, and clapped her hands for joy.

"The teachers are threatening rolling strikes that could cause significant disruption."

"Does them good to let off a bit of steam," she laughed, and danced a jig.

"Business confidence has plunged to near crisis levels."

She stood still, and looked at the floor.

I felt bad for her, and said, "What's this I read about Neve having a 'poonami'? Sounds pretty messy!'

She laughed, "Yes! Aww! Poor old lil bubs!"


Here's to you, I said, and raised the glass. My reflection winked back.

It's actually a lovely, spacious office. I felt right at home. I put my feet up, and settled in. Just for half an hour. Maybe an hour. No one comes round at midnight on Friday.

They won't be able to change the locks back till Monday.