Helen went to some lengths to stonewall all the Cullen speculation at the Post-Cabinet Press Conference today, responding to every question with "ask him". She says that he's served her well and that she wants to keep him on for as long as possible - adding that she has every intention of fighting the next election - but Cullen stepping down would depend on Cullen, and she hasn't asked him about it.
I guess between "how's your weekend" and "did you see the rugby", the topic just never came up...
It did come up for everyone else in the Labour caucus - Helen and Cullen interviewed them all about their plans after the election. Hence the problem - all that remains to be speculated about are Helen and Cullen!
The guest spot this week went to our soon-to-be head-of-state Anand Satyanand. Lawyer, judge and ombudsman, he expressed concerns about having such a public role. He is also Indian, and talked briefly about how nice it was for NZ to pick someone from an ethnic minority to be its representative. He promised to use his sovereign powers to lord over Her Majesty's domain with an iron fist.
He is stepping down as the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament to take over as Governor-General. Hmmm... hardworking watchdog for MPs gets cushy appointment which takes him away from watchdogging? There's probably an Investigate story in there.
The big news of the week is Chinese Premier (equivalent of PM) Wen Jiabao's visit this week. Official talks will take place on Thursday, and Helen promises that human rights will be on the agenda. Literally "on the agenda", that is. When asked how such issues usually gets raised, whether it was usually raised as a question ("so, how're those political prisoners doing then?") or as a statement, Helen said that there's usually an allocated period of time for these formal talks, and they each have an agenda to go through; for Helen, human rights is always "on the agenda".