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.
John Key indicated yesterday that the budget surpluses to be revealed in next week's Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) from the Treasury will be large enough to do it all: tax cuts, social spending, debt repayment and earthquake recovery.
The chatter around tax cuts yesterday gave a clearer idea of the direction the Government is heading with its plans before the election, including that simple tax cuts likely to deliver most of the benefits to the better off seem unlikely.
John Key and Todd McClay have been busy at the APEC meeting in Lima over the weekend, talking with leaders about trade deals in a post-Trump and post-TPP world.
John Key yesterday revived hopes for a big tax cut announcement next year in the wake of last week's comments from Bill English downplaying the prospects because of the need to instead pay for population growth and debt reduction.