Paula Bennett says she's gone "from hero to zero", but is feeling liberated rather than rejected.
The new Labour-NZ First-Green Government was sworn in on Thursday, officially ending Ms Bennett's 10-month tenure as Deputy Prime Minister.
Now just the deputy leader of the National Party, Ms Bennett has suffered a salary cut in excess of $100,000, but told The AM Show on Friday there are some personal benefits to losing the election.
"I'm embracing my new feather duster status. They say you go from rooster to feather duster overnight, so I went from hero to zero - but I tell you what, zero is quite liberating at some level.
"Obviously I'm disappointed and you're gutted and all that sort of stuff, but then you just go actually, you know? Look out, here I come. It means at a personal level you can perhaps look after yourself a little bit better. That job's not healthy, I've got to say."
She's also looking forward to spending more time with her family and dropping her granddaughter off at school for the first time.
"It's a change I'd rather have not have had, but we've got it so I'm going to embrace it and I tell you what, so yeah yeah yeah, fierce in Opposition."
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Labour MP Phil Twyford, the new Minister of Housing, spent the first nine years of his Parliamentary career on the Opposition benches.
"I loved being in Opposition for the first few years because it was a chance to campaign. If you like politics, then you probably love campaigning, and that was great," he told AM Show host Duncan Garner.
"But to be honest, after about five years or so I wanted to be in Government so we could make changes, to actually do stuff and improve people's lives."
He said National left them an "almighty mess" in housing, and the prospect of fixing it is "both exciting and a little daunting".
Ms Bennett wished him good luck, but it came with a warning.
"I think they're going to be hit by reality very quickly. They've sort of been going on hopes and dreams, and now they're going to have reality, which is really quite different."
She singled out council consenting processes as a particular obstacle to building rapidly, then pointed out Labour was yet to deliver on its promises - to Mr Twyford's protests.
"We haven't delivered, Paula? Paula, we just got sworn in yesterday," Mr Twyford said.
"We'll wait until the delivery before we say how great you're kind of going," she replied.
Labour's KiwiBuild plan calls for 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years, with affordable in Auckland being defined as under $500,000 for a townhouse/terraced apartment and under $600,000 for a standalone home.