The Beehive Diaries finds out what Shane Jones got for his 60th, what Simon Bridges has been doing in India, and breaks down the Government's political handling of the KiwiBuild announcement.
MONDAY: Simon Bridges gets a win, of sorts.
Congratulations to National Party leader Simon Bridges, who has been selected as the National Party's candidate in Tauranga – the first of the party's seat selections.
Disappointingly, the selection was uncontested – Bridges has held the seat since 2008.
Other selections may be a tad more interesting, with safe seats such as Upper Harbour, Selwyn and Botany up for grabs.
The party has now opened up a further eight candidate selections.
They include the coveted Epsom electorate, coveted because it requires putting as little effort into a campaign as possible.
Paul Goldsmith confirmed to Beehive Diaries that he intended to seek selection again, after successfully not winning it in 2011 and 2014 – increasing his losing majority against Act's David Seymour each time.
Bridges will decide next year whether Goldsmith is actually allowed to try and win it this time. Let's assume not.
Other seats open are Papakura, Auckland Central, Coromandel, Tukituki , West Coast-Tasman, Northcote and Bay of Plenty. All but West Coast-Tasman are currently held by National MPs.
Claire Trevett: KiwiBuild, the Little Engine that couldn't
Audrey Young: Minister gives masterclass in surrendering to failure
TUESDAY: Shane Jones turns 60
Shane Jones loves a good hat - his wardrobe includes favourites such as his Trump-style "Put NZ First Again" campaign cap, and his pork-pie hat. He has since added a KiwiRail cap.
His 60th birthday delivered another: a train conductor's hat from his old buddy Peter Douglas, who is also an advisor to the PM.
It did give Jones a startling resemblance to Homer Simpson in the Marge and the Monorail episode of The Simpsons.
However, it made up somewhat for Jones almost missing his own surprise birthday party because Air NZ cancelled his flight from Auckland to Kerikeri, leaving him to get a rental car to drive instead.
A more ominous gift was a chainsaw from somebody who clearly got the wrong end of the stick of Jones' "one billion trees" pledge.
Jones' main celebration will be a big party at his Kerikeri home this Saturday - it will also be the first sighting of Winston Peters since his knee surgery.
WEDNESDAY: Honey, I shrunk the KiwiBuild
The dismantling of the KiwiBuild programme was a masterpiece in political timing, partly by luck but mainly by design.
The Prime Minister and failure must never be seen in the same room, so the timing of the cave-in was very careful indeed.
It happened in Wellington in a recess week while most MPs – most importantly, Ardern - were not in Wellington.
It was on a Wednesday afternoon after a day on which the PM had no public engagements until 6.30pm – after the television news - and did not have a media standup. (Her office says nobody requested an interview anyway.)
So Ardern escaped having to talk about it until it was old news the next day, other than a brief mention in a regular chat with The Hits' Mike Puru.
Ardern was not the only notable absence from the event.
Woods' fellow housing portfolio ministers Kris Faafoi, Nanaia Mahuta and Phil Twyford were also nowhere to be seen.
Only Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson sat with Woods.
Labour was also clever enough to preface the backdown with a couple of positive announcements – food in schools and a national cancer agency and funding boost for Pharmac.
It helped that Simon Bridges was in India and heading to China on that Wednesday – without easy access to communications – a trip the PM's office would have been well aware of in advance.
The only hitch in Labour's careful planning was that Bridges had not taken National's housing spokeswoman Judith Collins, who was more than happy to fill the void back home with a chorus of "told you so".
Simon Bridges' postcards from New Delhi.
Postcards (well, social media posts) arrived of Bridges on his trip to India.
Prior to leaving, Bridges had said there were blessings on the agenda and one of the first posts back featured Bridges outside a temple with National's foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee alongside him.
There were also snaps of Bridges playing a bit of "gully cricket" on the New Delhi streets.
It soon became clear the side-aim was rubbing it in that Bridges had made it over before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Trade Minister David Parker or Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters.
As well as getting blessings, Bridges was giving promises.
There were reports Bridges pledged to visit India in 2021 if he became Prime Minister (he has clearly decided not to wait for the invitation), promised to champion direct flights between Auckland and Mumbai, and to work on fixing delays in visas for Indians wishing to come to New Zealand for tourism or study.
Yes, we can see the internet from over here Mr Bridges.
Bridges headed to China on Wednesday.
Friday: ALL PŌTAE, NO TRUMPET
Shane Jones' new hat was put to work Friday when he rolled up to Swanson to stand on a train to announce $95 million funding to improve the rail link between Auckland and Whangārei.
There were plans for the Ratana brass band to play at the occasion, but the band couldn't make it.
KiwiRail organised a second brass band, but that too fell through.
There was a group who sang a New Zealandised version of the rail classic "City of New Orleans", while Jones tipped his hat.
But it was left to Jones to do the trumpeting - something he has quite a lot of practice in.
Meanwhile, the noise of KiwiBuild had died and the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was back in the limelight again, this time with a winning chance - at the launch of the Emirates Team NZ yacht.