After being ushered in off the street into a top Cabinet role, Joyce’s strategy role makes him one of the Government’s most powerful ministers – with some strikingly similar characteristics to Key.
He has done in an instant what some MPs fail to do in their entire career, making it look all too easy with an accomplished performance in the House and with his portfolios.
Labour gave up targeting Steven as a new Minister quite early in the year.
His seamless move into Parliament may be unparalleled. It surpasses Margaret Wilson, who was similarly parachuted into the Cabinet for Labour and while also steeped in party politics was not a particularly comfortable fit with parliamentary politics.
He has already ridden out his novice stage in the House, rarely being riled by his far more experienced Labour opposite in transport, high-flyer Darren Hughes.
I’ve just taken a look through Hansard. Darren Hughes has only asked one question to Steven Joyce since mid May.
At 46, Joyce has a long way to go should he choose to stick around in politics. Future moves include taking on more challenging portfolios that help him build on his image as an affable and competent public minister rather than just a strategy man. And despite English’s detractors trying to promote a rivalry, much of this may be contrived and Joyce might not want to end up mired in Finance anyway.
Taking an electorate seat would also enhance his public standing.
Another of Joyce’s similarities with Key is that both have the money and skills to simply walk away from politics when they have had enough.
He will know better than anyone that Key may leave before the 2014 election.
The man who built a business empire from nothing and came into Parliament from out of nowhere will not stay in the little house forever.
This is true of both Steven and John. They both want to do well in politics, but politics is not their life. They have both had successful enough careers before politics, that setting longevity records for years in Parliament or even years in office is not a target for them.