Simon Bridges' inner circle of political confidants is a lot smaller than Jacinda Ardern's but that is hardly surprising.
The Leader of the Opposition is running a small ship compared to the person running the country. Her inner circle is 12. His is just five.
What may be surprising, however, is that Bridges' forthright wife, Natalie, is very much part of it. She is a close political adviser in a way that few leaders' spouses have so openly been.
She is often with him on official occasions such as attending the party's regional conferences, the last one being tomorrow's northern one.
Between running her own business and looking after the couple's three young children, she also gives advice on all manner of things: what people are complaining about on talkback radio, what's happening in their Tauranga community, what she thinks of policy ideas.
"I'm really embedded in the community," she tells the Herald on the sidelines of a regional conference in Lower Hutt.
"Of course you always reinforce your biases. You hear what you want to hear. But I'd like to think I give him feedback on what the temperature is, on policies and ideas they are putting out or topics of the day."
There is one thing she won't give him any advice on, however, and that is his pronounced Kiwi accent.
"I have a very strong view on the accent," she said. "I come from the UK and accents are embraced and I think New Zealanders need to get a grip if they have an issue with an accent because I think it's wonderful. I think it's about where you blimmin' come from."
She says they met at university where no one cared what you looked or sounded like.
"It's about what you say and what you are thinking and how good your ideas are."
She considers herself to be socially conservative, having been raised Catholic. But she is not from a politically Conservative background.
"My family is a Labour voting family, hardcore. My dad comes from mining stock in Wales, right. So it has been quite interesting that journey with Simon and understanding more about that."
Natalie Bridges runs her own PR firm advising a range of clients from avocado growers to law firms on internal communications, external communications, and crisis management.
Did she have a view on Simon Bridges raising the issue of Slushie machines in prisons which he was criticized for from some quarters as being too petty for him.
"Should a leader just keep to the lofty topics and keep himself clean and above the smaller issues?" she asks.
"I don't think it was a smaller issue. I think it was a perfect example of what's going wrong. But should he get down and dirty? Absolutely. I think that's who he is."
Bridges says he values his wife's advice and could not do without her.
"Natalie definitely doesn't just tell me what I want to hear," Bridges says. "It is unalloyed straight advice.
"Natalie is a sounding board but she is more than that. I value her views on whether something will be a good idea out there for the New Zealand public. It's a partnership.
"I don't and wouldn't share state secrets with Natalie but we are pretty candid about what's happening, what's gone on in the day. I personally couldn't do without her help, support and partnership."
The other members of Bridges' inner circle are the people whom he most frequently consults: deputy leader Paula Bennett, finance spokeswoman Amy Adams, foreign affairs spokesman Todd McClay and chief of staff Jamie Gray.
He is said to consult frequently with two other front benchers, Nikki Kaye and Paul Goldsmith, and show leader of the House Gerry Brownlee, all former ministers, and has a formal weekly meeting with the front bench.
OTHER MEMBERS OF SIMON BRIDGES' INNER CIRCLE
Jamie Gray is Simon Bridges' trusted chief of staff. He began life in the Beehive as a public servant, an energy specialist who worked for various Ministers of Energy, including Labour's David Parker then National's Gerry Brownlee then Simon Bridges. He switched from bureaucrat to a political adviser role in Bridges. He is not an enforcer in the Heather Simpson mould but he is said to have an even temperament, like Key's long-serving chief Wayne Eagleson who was able to withstand pressure. The pressures of Opposition, however, are not comparable to Government. Gray has not been without challenges, having played a key role in alerting appropriate services during the Jami-Lee Ross mental health crisis last year. He lost a chief press secretary when Michael Fox went to Zespri, and lost another experienced press secretary, Brian Anderton, who took down National's Online petition against the UN Migration Pact on the day of the mosque massacres.
Bridges had stood against Bennett in 2016 as deputy leader to Bill English after John Key's shock resignation. It was more a signal of future leadership ambitions for Bridges than with any real intent to block Bennett. She was the obvious choice as Bridges' deputy when he won the leadership, given her experience in the role, her gender, and the fact she had not stood against him. She had been elevated to Key's inner circle herself and taken big roles in campaign planning over several elections. Bennett and Bridges have worked closely since, with her specialty being management of the caucus.
Amy Adams got her finance role by coming second in the leadership contest last year, in which she was the liberals' favourite against Bridges' conservative base in caucus. Since then, she has done nothing to suggest she harbours leadership ambitions and the pair appear to have built up a strong sense of trust - as a leader and finance spokesperson need to. She tends to give him advice on policy.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay is joined at the hip politically to Bridges. They have neighbouring electorates and have always been ambitious political schemers. McClay (along with Jami-Lee Ross) was Bridges' numbers man in his run at the deputy's job and the leadership. He plays a similar role that Steven Joyce did in the caucus, specialising in messaging, polling and broad strategy. Not the most popular member of caucus.