Soon after she was sworn in as Prime Minister for her second term, Jacinda Ardern had the pleasure of re-claiming the circular Cabinet table at the top of the Beehive – and filling it completely with Labour Party ministers.
Ardern led the first Cabinet of her second term straight after the final election results were announced, delivering Labour a final result of 50 per cent and the seats of Northland, Whangarei and Maungakiekie from National.
At the head of the table were the “prefects” – Ardern, her new deputy PM Grant Robertson, Megan Woods and Chris Hipkins looking quite at home and joking about Ardern’s revelation that her mother still used cheque books.
At the other end sat the newbies looking a little more awed by the moment, including Ayesha Verrall, Jan Tinetti, Michael Wood and Kiri Allan.
Next to them looking quite delighted with his return to grace was David Clark. In between sat Carmel Sepuloni and Willie Jackson, trying to photobomb the PM.
The joviality did not last after the media were ushered out.
Ardern said she was humbled by the final election result, but the message she gave to Cabinet was that “the honour of serving comes with enormous responsibility. We take nothing for granted. There are significant challenges for us to overcome together.”
The focus until the end of the year would be putting in place the extended package for small businesses