Tomorrow's annual caucus retreat for Labour's 65 MPs, and their families, will no doubt be bitter-sweet for the party's chief whip, Kieran McAnulty.
Labour is breaking from the tradition of hosting its annual get-together of MPs at the Brackenridge retreat in Martinborough – the heart of McAnulty's Wairarapa electorate.
It's a seat he won from National by 7000 votes – the first time the electorate has gone red since 2002.
"I was pretty keen for it [the retreat] to stay there, being my home patch," he told the Herald.
"But we're too big now and there is no place in Wairarapa that can cater to 65 MPs and their families."
If winning the election in a landslide is the sweet – the cherry on top for McAnulty is he gets to run the show for the party's historically large caucus.
The mantel of MC falls upon the chief whip – his office is in charge of planning the event and making sure it all runs smoothly.
There is also a degree of presenting that goes along with the role as well – something he is no stranger to.
He has been presenting the Golden Shears competition in Masterton for years and is well known around his electorate.
Around Parliament, he's has a reputation for being highly personable – an MP that even his rivals across the aisle wouldn't mind having a beer with.
The word "charmer" has even been thrown around in conversations about McAnulty from time-to-time.
He laughs when this is put to him – "There are a lot of bullshitters around Parliament, that's for sure".
But he does acknowledge that communication is one of his strengths – a strength he developed in a profession which does not have many, if any, alumni around the halls of power.
For a number of years, McAnulty was a bookie – the person in charge of taking bets, calculating odds and paying out winnings.
He enjoyed the job and said there were a number of transferable skills he was able to take across when he was first elected as an MP in 2017.
For example, he did a lot of TV presenting for trackside TV and some radio work.
But, when it comes to being Labour's chief whip, his previous profession does not influence much of what he now does.
"I'm not too sure as to how setting the odds would translate to organising a Labour caucus."
And that is the main part of the chief whip's job – organisation.
Labour leader, and Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern is in charge of the party and the Government but every party has whips which are more hands-on when it comes to running the day-to-day of a caucus.
They keep track of MPs whereabouts, decide who is speaking to what bill, negotiate with other party whips on House matters, grant or deny leave to MPs and help settle differences within the caucus.
McAnulty says he enjoys this job – especially the pastoral care side.
During the last term, he learned the ropes as a junior whip.
But when Ardern announced her new ministerial cabinet after the election, one of the surprises was that McAnulty's name did not appear in the line-up.
During Labour's last term, McAnulty firmly established himself as an "up-and-comer" and someone destined for promotion.
His fellow former junior whip last term, Kiri Allen, made the cut – as did quiet achiever Jan Tinetti and 2020 rookie Ayesha Verrall, all straight into cabinet.
But McAnulty said he wasn't disappointed not to be included.
"This [chief whip] was the job I asked for – I was stoked."
The job is a big one – whipping 65 MPs will have its challenges and this is something he acknowledges.
But it does not tie him to Wellington quite so much as the job of a Minister would have.
This means he has more time for his Wairarapa electorate.
"I want an opportunity to establish myself and prove my worth in the electorate – being chief whip allows me to do that."
McAnulty is a fierce advocate of Wairarapa and is well known in the area.
He's often recognised by his signature red Mazda bounty ute, which is more than 20 years old.
Whoever did this to my ute I salute you pic.twitter.com/mCaW58TLpF— Kieran McAnulty MP (@Kieran_McAnulty) January 2, 2021
So much attention does the ageing vehicle garner, that Ardern took a ride with him during the campaign and turned the trip into a viral video.
McAnulty said he loves the ute – in fact, he's speaking to the Herald while sitting in the front seat (not driving).
"The seat is perfectly moulded to me and is exactly how I want it – I am in no rush to get an upgrade."
He emphasised this latter point as National MP Chris Bishop, and co-captain with McAulty of the parliamentary cricket team, ribbed him about the ute for being a gas-guzzler.
But McAnulty tells the Herald that it's actually "incredibly efficient for an old vehicle" and he saved "God-knows how much" material over the years by not trading it in.
He does admit, however, he is going to have to upgrade one day.
"What I would like to upgrade it to is an electric ute – unfortunately, they don't exist."
As well as the lower emissions benefits that come with an EV, there is an extra incentive that is pushing him towards a greener change.
There are only a handful of charging stations in the Wairarapa but one is outside one of his favourite pubs.
"I might have to have my meetings in the pub so I can plug it in outside – I think that's the best solution," he said.
"You've got to make sacrifices for the climate."
Although he enjoys the job of chief whip, it's not something he wants to do forever.
"I'm a bit of a student of the old standing orders and really enjoy the parliamentary process," he said, when asked about what part of the job he enjoys most.
"Outside of the Leader of the House [held by Chris Hipkins], it's the chief whip that's the most involved in that".
Asked if that's a role he would like to see himself in, in the future, he said that he hadn't really thought about it.
He does, however, concede: "Yeah, I suppose so".
"But you've got to be a minister to be Leader of the House and I have no qualms about where I'm at – at the moment."