Bill English used his first trip out of Wellington as Prime Minister to visit affected communities along the Kaikoura Coast yesterday, including at Kekerengu on the coast between Kaikoura and Ward, but his welcome was far from friendly or honeymoon-like.
Wellington and Government have turned the corner towards Christmas and is sprinting towards the finish line with extra gusto this year, given the coming announcement of a new cabinet on Sunday and the jockeying of the players ahead of next year's election.
The sound of decks being cleared could be heard all over Wellington yesterday as ministers about to leave or shift announced policy changes and tweaks before Bill English names the new cabinet this Sunday.
Bill English is set to be sworn in as Prime Minister more than 14 years after leading National to its worst electoral defeat, and after eight years of being John Key's right hand man without the ambition to be number one.
Not that there was much doubt about it, but Bill English was effectively confirmed yesterday as the next Prime Minister of New Zealand. His selection as National Party leader will be made official with an uncontested caucus vote on Monday.
Cabinet sources are telling media today that Bill English has a clear majority of support within the National caucus ahead of next Monday's vote.
It's game on, as they say in sports commentating, now that Bill English faces a real contest for the Prime Minister's job from Jonathan Coleman and Judith Collins.