Jacinda Ardern and John Key have something in common, they like to be liked although the former National prime minister was known as the smiling assassin and was a much more ruthless political master.

Ardern on the other hand has done nothing to dent her popularity with her colleagues with her shuffle of the Cabinet deck which in reality was a sleight of hand.

The only one miffed will be Meka Whaitiri, although her boss says the door remains open.


In reality it was too hard to return her to the job considering this is a well-being Government where bullying is a mortal sin.

Every minister keeps their ranking, and mostly their jobs, which means the new boss of getting housing back on track, Megan Woods, is junior to Phil Twyford - the man who's been left wielding the hammer in urban New Zealand.

Still she's tough as nails and Twyford will be in no doubt about who's in charge.

Twyford probably broke down and wept with relief with the change - meaning that he'll no longer have to do daily battle with Miss Whiplash from the other side of the House Judith Collins.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key. Photo / Greg Bowker
Former Prime Minister Sir John Key. Photo / Greg Bowker

Kris Faafoi, described by his boss as outstanding, has been rewarded with the remaining contents of the poison housing chalice, by becoming the third plank in the building team.

Ardern says KiwiBuild was too much work for one man, but splitting it in three simply increases the targets for National and gives the six-month-old reset even more time to be reset.

In fairness to Labour in all of this, it was at least prepared to acknowledge the housing crisis and try to do something about it.

One minister who'll be heading off on his three-week break relieved will be Iain Lees-Galloway, whose feet in most other governments wouldn't have touched the ground with the scandal of last year, all of his own making, over the drug runner Karel Sroubek.


He's still in jail but is fighting to stay in the country when he's released after Lees-Galloway finally got around to making the decision he should have from the start - to kick him out like all other drug runners.

Ardern obviously felt she'd lost the opportunity to get rid of him, she couldn't now strike while the iron's cold.

The only new face to fill the vacancy in the outer Cabinet is the relatively unknown Poto Williams who, as Associate Immigration Minister, will hopefully give Lees-Galloway some reading lessons.

So a relaxed, smiling Jacinda Ardern, and she had good reason to be relaxed given she's kept everyone on board, issued a press statement headed, Refreshed Cabinet line-up confirmed.

Yeah well, it's about as refreshing as fly spray.