For most of his career, Andrew Coster has been touted as the future Commissioner of Police.
He wasn't long out of Police College in 1996 when he was earmarked for greater things as someone who was young, bright and ambitious; a "blue flamer", as police refer to colleagues whose careers skyrocket ahead.
Some officers were even taking bets as to when Coster would get the top job, as he and rival contenders edged ahead, or fell behind, in promotion rounds.
Sometimes "blue flamers" fall out of favour and fizzle out, passed over simply as a consequence of timing, personality clashes or politics.
Today, the gamble paid off for those who backed Coster who will replace Mike Bush, the outgoing Commissioner who has served two three-year terms, next month.
Coster also found the time to earn a law degree (with Honours) and a Masters degree in public management during his time in the Police.
He spent five years as the area commander for Auckland City, one of the busiest in the country, before heading to Wellington and progressing through the management ranks to acting Deputy Commissioner since 2018.
In announcing Coster's appointment today, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lauded both his frontline and backroom policy experience, most recently with his handling of gun law reform following the March 15 terror attack.
"Most of all I've observed his passion for a police force that knows its strength lies in what it can achieve with the community it serves," the Prime Minister said.
"I know he'll lead a team of 13,000 people across the country with positivity, inclusion and integrity."
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Integrity is how staff describe Coster, a man of Christian faith, as well as Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement, whom the Herald understands was the other candidate recommended by the State Services Commission.
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Clement, widely considered to have the most operational skill and experience of those vying for the top job, called a spade a spade.
He was a perfectionist who paid attention to detail.
But his great strength was also a weakness, as Clement did not suffer fools and was infamously blunt with anyone who failed to meet his standards.
Clement, who just turned 60, was self-aware of his reputation for ruffling feathers. Some loved him, others loathed him.
Just last week, there was a particularly damaging leak that Clement was under investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority for "interfering" in a job appointment.
The inference was Clement was tilting the field for one of his favourites.
The opposite was true, as revealed by the Herald , Clement tried to block a plum job for a senior officer who made crude sexual remarks to female staff.
He tried to do the right thing. And the Prime Minister said the IPCA investigation played no part in her decision.
But if Clement had been given the top job, his appointment would have attracted allegations from those he had bruised along the way.
A controversial appointment, no matter how baseless the allegation, is the last thing the Prime Minister wants in an election year.
She was badly burned by her previous promotion of Wally Haumaha to the position of Deputy Commissioner in 2018, which was soon dogged by allegations of bullying, after a Herald investigation revealed three women left a joint justice project because of him.
The saga created months of poor headlines and ended with an IPCA report which found Haumaha's behaviour was at times unprofessional, inappropriate and could be described as bullying, as the word is commonly understood.
There are no skeletons in Coster's closet and his appointment will be uncontroversial, even among his peers in the Police Executive - who will now report to him.
He's a safe bet.
That's not to say he's ineffective, in terms of changing things which need to be fixed, but just more subtle in how he goes about his business.
Like the Prime Minister, Coster is young, intelligent, enthusiastic and energetic. His first challenge is to unite a fractured and bitterly divided Police Executive.
Some have been ruthlessly sidelined and could be brought back into the fold, while others who cannot get behind Coster's vision will need a gentle push.
Then Coster can bring in new talent to jockey for the top job should he choose to stand down when his current term expires in 2025. The next generation of "Blue Flamers" for someone to bet on.