The first proper week of Parliament saw a rush for the big jobs, an exemption for Santa and some horsetrading of questions by the Māori Party.
The National Party's Kenny and Dolly
When Judith Collins split the finance role between her shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly and finance spokesman Michael Woodhouse, she said she expected them to be joined at the hip.
They are now almost literally joined at the hip. The two MPs now have adjoining offices and their executive assistants share an office in between them.
They sit next to each other in Parliament, and even share speaking time in Parliament.
For the Address In Reply, the two MPs split the speaking allotment for one MP between them.
We look forward to hearing their rendition of Islands in the Stream at the Christmas karaoke party.
The jobs grab
There are precious few plum jobs at Parliament for Opposition MPs so there was something of a Hunger Games scramble for the roles of chairing the 12 select committees and six specialist committees.
National MPs are chairs on three committees this time – and Kaipara ki Mahurangi Chris Penk was one of the lucky ones. Kind of.
Penk tweeted the news of his great victory.
"Chairperson, Regulations Review Committee ...
"It's a title that gets a bit less impressive with every word. Still grateful to get this gig today, however."
He followed it up a nerd face emoji.
“Chairperson, Regulations Review Committee” ...— Chris Penk (@ChrisPenknz) December 3, 2020
... it’s a title that gets a bit less impressive with every word.
Still grateful to get this gig today, however 🤓👍🏻
As well as (limited) power, select committee chairs get paid about $16,000 more than a regular MP, while deputy chairs get $5000 more.
Labour's junior whip Duncan Webb got the pick of the lot as chair of the powerful finance and expenditure committee.
Little shop of questions
The Māori Party has set about a bit of strategising to make the most of the limited opportunities its two MPs, Rawiri Waititi and Deborah Ngarewa-Packer, get to ask questions of the Government.
It gets only two primary questions each three weeks and four follow-up "supplementaries" each week. This week it gave three of those four to the Act Party.
Its plan is to "lend" its questions to other parties so it can claim some back in return in weeks when it has a primary question, or an issue to take the Government to task on.
It is likely to approach the Greens for a similar deal. The Māori Party has given its proxy votes to the Green Party to cast when its MPs are not in Parliament.
Acting chief of staff John Tamihere said the Green Party's policy positions were the closest to the Māori Party's.
The PM this week revealed Santa would be exempt from the quarantine requirements for Covid-19.
There are a number of legitimate reasons to exempt Santa from the two-week managed isolation period.
He harks from a Covid-free country, and does not use commercial air travel.
New Zealand is his first stop because of its Covid-friendly time zone, so he is highly unlikely to be exposed before his arrival here.
That was not enough for Act leader David Seymour, who sent out an email lashing Ardern for creating a "fictional" travel bubble with the North Pole, when the Cook Islands and Australia were still waiting.
Perhaps Seymour could take advantage of the travel bubble Ardern has set up and head to the North Pole to chill out a bit.