Below the beltway
Welcome to groundhog day, Jacinda Ardern. After six weeks on maternity leave, the real prime minister is back in Wellington and Parliament is still talking about the same stuff as before she went away. So who's up and who's down in politics this week?
Don Brash: These days, the former Reserve Bank governor and National leader is unlikely to incite anything more than a polite yawn but he's become an unlikely cause celebre after Massey University banned him from speaking because of his championing of - you guessed it - free speech. Oh the irony.
Simon Bridges: He might be trailing in the popularity stakes as preferred prime minister but the latest TVNZ poll has National at 45 per cent, still ahead of Labour - and that means his job is safe.
Ardern: The same poll shows Labour's election-night result is holding. Take a bow, Ardern, because that's probably all down to you.
Nick Smith: One of Parliament's longest-serving MPs, Smith has been a dog with a bone on the so-called Waka Jumping Bill - enough so as to shame the Green Party to silence over its support for a bill it once labelled an affront to democracy.
* Liberal Left a howling contradiction
* Massey University bans Don Brash from speaking
* Editorial: Massey wrong on Brash ban
* National remains ahead in first post-baby poll, but left bloc could govern alone
Massey University vice chancellor Jan Thomas: There can't be many things as fundamental to academia as freedom of speech and association. Her call to cancel the Brash speech was a huge fail.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson: Just as Labour pushes back on business confidence, Treasury and the Reserve Bank have both joined the growing chorus of voices warning that falling confidence could hit growth forecasts.
Judith Collins: She was unrepentant after tweeting a link to a notorious junk news site suggesting a vast left wing conspiracy to normalise child rape. Is she trying to channel Donald Trump?
SHE CAN DO IT ALL BY HERSELF
Say what you like about Judith Collins - and people do - she doesn't lack self-awareness. Asked if she had deliberately selected the most inflammatory story possible to tweet in relation to the French child sex issue, Collins delivered one of her famous arched eyebrow put-downs and reminded reporters while that was hardly necessary in her case. "I can be very inflammatory all by myself."