Parliament's risen for the year and it's worth reflecting a little on the two minor parties in Government (although Winston Peters would never accept New Zealand First as a minor party).

Peters certainly reinforces the phrase punching above your weight: seven per cent of the vote at the last election means 93 per cent didn't vote for the party.

But this man today arguably has more power than he's ever had, even from the time he was Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in the Bolger Government.


He was the finance show pony then while the Beehive's Darth Vader Bill Birch did the sums.

In this Government as the deputy to Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister, Peters is his own man and he's flexed his muscles like never before.

Essentially Peters has got most of what he wanted, from hard-fought changes to Labour's previously sacrosanct workplace laws to a stack of cash for the Pacific and Foreign Affairs, not to mention the billion dollars a year he's secured for the Provincial Growth Fund.

His successful six-week run as acting Prime Minister while his boss was on maternity leave shouldn't be forgotten either.

Peters has even become more amenable to the media with his scowl these days more often than not being replaced with a smile, even if his ability to answer a straight question remains about as crooked as a dog's hind leg.

He's even become more tolerant of the Greens, which probably has something to do with the absence of their former co-leader Metiria Turei (who in the lead-up to the last election labelled him a racist). Her replacement Marama Davidson now refers to him publicly as Uncle Winston and sings his praises as a constructive colleague.

The Greens' three ministers may be outside of Cabinet but they have slogged away and have refreshingly stuck to their knitting, becoming the conscience of the nation when it comes to the environment, elevating them from the political untouchables they were when Helen Clark ruled the roost. She reluctantly accepted they could be seen but certainly not heard at her Cabinet table.

At worst the Greens are annoying with their drive to have plastic supermarket bags banned from next year without suggesting a viable alternative and for their insistence on getting us out of cars and on to bikes, not to mention the hundreds of millions being spent on cycle and walk ways and also not forgetting the tens of millions being spent on getting bikes and tracks to ride them on in schools.


James Shaw's trip to the Polish climate change conference confirms it's running the risk of being a bit like the so-called Bogor accord on free trade which has failed because none of the leaders who signed up to it are still around to ensure it's implemented.

At best though they've shown they're comfortable with being in Government and making a contribution to it making them a much more attractive proposition.

National should take note.