The best way to find out what politicians are about is to listen to what they say. That's why this week's State of the Nation speeches were so wonderful. We learned what Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Andrew Little are about.
We learned a lot. Both are targeting the same audience - they want the middle voter.
The David Cunliffe experiment of tacking left is over.
That's good news for the Greens: they can hoover up left-wing voters.
It's good news for Labour: they have to win the middle to win Government.
Key's speech was classic National and exactly what we have come to expect of him: things are good and getting better, and he and his team are working hard to keep everything on course. Oh, and here's a very modest reform that allows National to say they are doing something about housing.
It won't make much difference but it won't rock the boat. Key's Government is very much "steady as she goes".
Little's speech was more interesting by far.
He's new and his speech was an opportunity to learn where he's directing Labour and, potentially, the country.
And here's the money quote: "As a union leader I was always conscious that wealth had to be created first before it could be shared. We need to do what's right for business so we can do what's right for workers and their families and to keep skills in New Zealand."
Little recognises the need to create wealth before it can be spent.
And he acknowledges that business creates wealth - and, by implication, not Government. That's a big statement from a Labour leader.
He told us how as union leader he helped business to help workers and their families.
He's not a "worker-versus-business" guy. He worked with Fonterra to achieve productivity gains and so boost the pay to workers and farmers.
The bit about farmers is important. He understands the economy is interconnected and farmers are part of his economic equation.
It's all good news.
Little spoke of reducing inequality. Good. And even here he was interesting: he says the spin-off of reducing inequality is better growth. That, too, would be better for business and farmers.
Jobs and growth are his focus. And small business. That sets him apart from Key who, in his deals with Warner Bros, SkyCity and Rio Tinto, is tied to the big end of town.
Little didn't attack Key. He ignored the Government to focus on what he and his party have to offer. That's a welcome change.
Little has outlined his vision and direction. His challenge now is to deliver policy that convinces middle voters he will deliver.
He must also figure out an arrangement with the Greens.
The Greens scare middle voters. Little needs to show he can work with the Greens but that he's boss. That isn't going to be easy.