Smiles As Ministerial Employment Contracts Signed
All Smiles As Ministerial Employment Contracts
Beneath an unsmiling portrait of Queen Victoria, a couple of likely lads in the shape of Winston Peters and Peter Dunne made up the numbers for the third successive Labour/Jim Anderton Government.
The general vibe of the afternoon was cheery with Mr Peters flashing a magnificent smile as he went up for a handshake with the Governor-General. Mr Dunne looked pretty chuffed as well, his dreams no doubt filled with tax spreadsheets and plans for common sense revenue gathering.
Later that evening Mr Dunne's smile may have wilted somewhat as he read the latest political column from his former law and order spokesperson, Mr Marc Alexander. Mr Alexander hypothesised that United Future would be a party of one after the next election and that due to losing "two useless appendages" Mr Dunne would be "liberated from endless soliloquies about the perils of the great moral outrages of the day."
Many of the cheery folk enjoying a balmy spring evening at Government House may also have had their spirits somewhat dampened by the news that the national carrier (Air NZ) wants to dump a few hundred or so jobs.
However, for a few glorious hours the prospect of eyeballing Don Brash and Gerry Brownlee from close quarters in the House slipped into a hazy background. Instead there would have been the thought of who would enjoy the sea views of Wellington Harbour in Bowen House and who would be enjoying the disorienting lift ride up to the higher floors of the Beehive.
If the Devil was planning to get Ministers such as Steve Maharey or Annette King on-side then this was possibly his only window of opportunity. There seemed little chance that these gluttons for punishment would have idle hands in their new Education and Police portfolios.
Probably the biggest smiles of the evening were reserved for those storming the bastions of the Beehive for either the first time (Winnie Laban, Clayton Cosgrove and David Parker) or the honourable member who was returning after a wee spell on the sidelines - Lianne Dalziel.