If socks are the political currency then Winston Peters is broke.

Jacinda Ardern's probably never noticed his socks before, in her mind he has so many attributes that they're not part of the package.

Her first observation as we sat down to discuss their first year in partnership was how my flamingo socks were right up there with Justin Trudeau's flamboyant footwear.


My attention was immediately deflected to Peters' highly polished black shoes at the end of a pinstripe and saw they were filled with black socks - conservative, I observed - which pretty well sums up Peters with his old-fashioned expectations of how people should behave, expectations in his rather stringent rule book that are rarely achieved.

Peters is something of an enigma, a more feisty, combative politician you'd be hard-pressed to find.

But he expects respect and when he doesn't get it he rounds on the transgressor )which is usually someone in the media or an opposing politician).

With Jacinda Ardern he's gentle and so is she with him.

They have an easy rapport, ribbing each other with her at times defensive of him.

She was asked whether there was any trepidation about working alongside a man who has something of a reputation of being a bit crusty and tough, a description she leapt on as being slightly unkind.

But he didn't take offence, saying it had an element of truth about it.

Peters maintained he didn't like for the third time being in a position to decide who the Prime Minister was going to be, thinking after the election that he should have been painting his boat and going fishing.


But there was no escaping the fact that he had to choose the skipper and he was candid about why he chose Ardern and Labour during the negotiations saying they didn't insist on tweaking this and that.

In other words they got more of what they wanted than they were able to extract from National.

And for the first time he revealed what was behind his decision to announce the winner live on television rather than tell the expectant leaders first, as he did on the two earlier occasions.

He had to do it for the 7pm television shows and he simply ran out of time. Peters later apologised to Ardern.

At the time he sold it as telling the voting public first.

So he chose the young woman that he admitted in the interview that he didn't know from a bar of soap, something he had pretty much in common with many of the voting public.

And finally, who's really in charge?

Peters took the lead on that one, the Prime Minister's in charge, that's why she got the job - thanks to him.