Paula Bennett becomes Prime Minister for the day

Paula Bennett (Newshub.)
Paula Bennett (Newshub.)

The keys to the country have been handed down the ranks - five places. On Thursday, Paula Bennett is Prime Minister.

She's taken up the reins because John Key is in India, Bill English and Steven Joyce are across the ditch, and Gerry Brownlee is in Paris - meaning the Social Housing Minister is officially the acting Prime Minister.

"I am the acting Prime Minister for I think all of 24 hours. The boys are leaving it to me," Ms Bennett told Newshub.

It's the first time a woman has been in power since Helen Clark.

So what does one do with such power? Change all the laws? Settle in for a bubble bath at Premier House? A parade perhaps?

"Well I was told that a parade was a step too far," Ms Bennett said. "But I was slightly tempted."

But with great power comes great responsibility - and of course the need for extra security. The Prime Minister always has a guard of armed police at his side.

"I could if I wanted," she joked. "But I think I'm feeling pretty safe and I should be ok."

It's been a long time since the power has fallen to number five - when former Health Minister Tony Ryall had a bit of fun with it. Inside sources told Newshub he apparently loved it so much so he even had cards printed which read: Hon Tony Ryall, Former Acting Prime Minister.

But Ms Bennett says she's looking for an understated time in the role.

"I think we'll just go for a steady hand."


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