The Herald looks at the goings-on in Parliament over the week. This week saw the Greens and Labour talks continue, while the National Party adjusted to its smaller size.
Leap of Faith or Flying Leap?
Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson have spent the week in "talks" with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about what role, if any, they will take in the next Government.
The talks have gone from being called "negotiations" to "discussions" to "chats". Next up will be "exchanges of pleasantries".
The media stake-outs are a far cry from 2017 when they dragged on for weeks as New Zealand First negotiated with both Labour and National.
Then the big question was who would be the Prime Minister.
This time, it is more a case of waiting to hear who will be in charge of cleaning the blackboard.
Nonetheless, both sides are trying to give it an air of the 2020 suspense by keeping the topics of discussion secret.
The one smidgen of information to emerge was peeking out of the top of Marama Davidson's folder – a note which read "leap of faith".
It remains unclear who was taking said leap – but given the imbalance of power perhaps Davidson had managed to negotiate things up from Ardern's suggestion the Greens take a flying leap.
Shrinking pains for National:
The National Party's election result has seen its parliamentary budget cut by about 55 per cent – and staff numbers halved from a team of about 34 to about 17.
Judith Collins is understood to have drafted in trusted friend and former ministerial staffer Megan Wallace as her chief of staff. Wallace is expected to take over from current chief of staff Megan Campbell in November.
Campbell moved down from her Hamilton home to work for Todd Muller, but stayed on until after the election under Collins.
Collin's campaign press secretary Janet Wilson's contract ended at the election and she fled happily back to Hawke's Bay. Ex-journalist Michael Forbes is acting chief press secretary of a press team of just two, although it is likely to increase.
Vale bastion of man:
A former edifice of male-only rule at Parliament is set to be dismantled soon: The billiards room.
The need to shoehorn MPs and staff into tight spaces after vacating Bowen House will see the billiards room repurposed. It could become the Government's new caucus room so the current caucus room can be used for staff offices.
The room is for MPs' use only, unless the Speaker gives permission for mere mortals to enter. In the olden days, it was also only for male MPs although a curtained-off area was put in place for women in the 1980s.
It was moved in the 1990s from the Grand Hall to its location near the Debating Chamber, and has since reportedly waxed and waned in popularity parallel to NZ First's popularity.
A veteran of Parliament said it was popular from 1996 to 1999 when NZ First was in a rocky coalition with National. It has had a resurgence over the past three years while NZ First was in coalition with Labour.
There is something apt in the disappearance of the billiards tables coinciding with the disappearance of NZ First.
Curse of Copperfields:
Parliament's Copperfields Cafe had a Halloween theme on Friday, including strips of "caution" tape along the front of the buffet.
There was some confusion about whether it was part of the decorations, or part of the ongoing induction for new MPs – a warning about the so-called "Copperfields Curse" – the 5kg newcomers to Parliament tend to put on from over-indulgence at the café.