Winston gets the title but not the power

As I predicted, Winston Peters will have the title of Acting Prime Minister, but no real power. He will just be the frontperson for the Government, which Grant Robertson will run behind the scenes.

The Herald reports on a document released by the PM, detailing Peters’ role during her leave. Some extracts:

“As Acting Prime Minister, you will exercise the functions and powers of the Prime Minister, in consultation with me where appropriate, particularly where matters of significant political, strategic or public interest, or national security arise,” the letter from Ardern to Peters says.

So Winston doesn’t get to decide anything.

“I will continue to receive Cabinet and Cabinet committee papers

This is key. Ardern will still be Prime Minister. She won’t be in Wellington but will be receiving all the papers she normally does and deciding which ones proceed.

Chairing cabinet and the cabinet committees usually chaired by me (Appointments and Honours Committee, Cabinet Business Committee and Cabinet Priorities Committee). Agendas for the meetings will be managed between my office and the Cabinet Office in the usual way;

This is also key. Her office will decide the agendas, not Peters. He just chairs the meetings, but has no role in deciding the agenda.

Peters, who is Foreign Minister, has not scheduled any overseas trips while Acting Prime Minister.

In the unlikely event of him having to take one, then Labour’s deputy leader, Kelvin Davis, would be Acting Prime Minister.

There’s no way that will be allowed to happen.

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