Education Minister Chris Hipkins received an unusual request last week.
It was from National's education spokeswoman, Nikki Kaye, asking a favour.
Kaye had booked the rose garden café in Wellington's botanical gardens for the launch of her important education policy document this week and got word that it was on the same day that Hipkins was planning his own big press conference on Tomorrow's Schools.
She asked if he could change days to avoid a clash - and he obliged.
He did his on Tuesday and she did hers on Wednesday.
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It tells us, first, that there is an awful lot going on in the education policy space in both the Opposition and the Government and, second, that the two leading politicians have an excellent working relationship even if it is not always evident in the House.
There is more collaboration than combat to the relationship.
They are both high achievers and were destined for success even if their schools weren't.
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Hipkins, 41, was head boy of Petone College. It closed with falling rolls and is now a retirement village.
Kaye, 39, was head girl of Corran School. The small private college in Remuera closed a decade ago.
The co-operation between Hipkins and Kaye may not impress some of their deeply tribal colleagues but it works in the interests of both.
Like the Zero Carbon Bill, which showed bipartisan support can be achieved, there is likely to be less disruptive policy swings after a change of Government. No Government likes to see its hard work undone.
And the more support Hipkins can get from the Opposition, the more easily he can get his massive change agenda implemented.
For Kaye, there are several advantages so long as she continues to develop areas of differentiation.
Her current targets in education are limited because most of what is being done in educational institutions now is the result of National government policy so she has to be future focused.
She has greater access to official advice and information in developing her policy as education spokeswoman and doesn't face the uphill battles other spokespeople often have.
And the more collaborative approach overall means she has been able to reset the relationship between National and the education sector which was toxic from day one of the Government over national standards.
In fact, Kaye began that reset in her few months as Education Minister in 2017, getting cabinet approval then to shift away from national standards to a form of progress reporting which would be less taxing on teachers.
Hipkins asked the Tomorrow's Schools working group to give Kaye the briefings she wanted and when she held her own set of public meetings on their interim report, they were welcome to attend as well.
The one other factor that Hipkins and Kaye have in common is that they are both former parliamentary staffers. It makes a difference.
Kaye worked for National in Opposition when Bill English was leader, At the same time Hipkins worked as a political adviser in the office of former Education Minister Trevor Mallard.
It may not be a good look for parties to fill their ranks with political operatives but in Hipkins' case in particular, his close work on the inside of the Beehive has given him strengths as a minister that few colleagues share.
It means he knows how to make things happen. He knows how to get the best out of his officials and the various reviews he has commissioned as minister shows he knows how to set realistic expectations and keep their feet to the fire. Getting new policies accepted and implemented is harder than it may seem.
As well as his education agenda, Hipkins has a significant reform of the State Sector Act 1988 in train. It will be modernised and renamed the Public Service Act to enable greater of cross-Government approaches to issues such as mental health, climate change and poverty reduction.
He is one of Jacinda Ardern's most productive and valued ministers with his only affliction being his schoolboyish looks.
National criticises the large number of reviews he undertook in Education but unlike many of his colleagues, who arrived in Government in 2017 without ideas, he arrived with plans for reform – of Tomorrow's Schools, NCEA, what should replace national standards,
vocational education and training and the early childhood sector.
The sector is famously sensitive to being told what to do and the reviews were commissioned not so much on what to reform but how to reform – and were promised before the election.
The collaboration between Hipkins and Kaye has not meant there is no opposition to policies.
Kaye and National leader Simon Bridges criticized the initial review into Tomorrow's Schools which transferred many of powers to regional bureaucracies as an attempt to take control of schools from parents and put principals on short-term contracts.
It was also characterised by Bridges as a restructuring that would lower educational outcomes in higher performing schools rather than lifting the poorer performing schools.
It struck a nerve.
Hipkins was not ideologically wedded to the hubs and made the taskforce consult on their proposals - which is how they have changed to more a politically and publicly acceptable version of regional hubs.
They will be set up with specialist staff to support teachers and still be under the control of the Ministry of Education.
The policy will be not be implemented by the time of the next election however.
National's election battlegrounds are not yet clear but could include fees-free arrangements vocational training and polytechs, partnership schools, zoning, early childhood education and progress reporting. It depends on the direction the Government takes next year.
Kaye's policy discussion document suggests that she want to focus less on attacking and more on developing new policy such as evaluating phonics teaching to improve literacy, setting up education accounts to fund tertiary education or training, and second language learning in primary schools (which has the support of Hipkins).
Kaye was pleasantly shocked when NZEI put out a partly positive press statement in response to her document - and perhaps less shocked when Hipkins suggested some of her ideas had been lifted from his reviews.
The education landscape is changing under a new generation of leaders.