The man John Key called "mate" in his victory speech has run National's past two election campaigns. Like Key, he is a pakeha in his mid-40s who retired rich and young before he took up politics. In 2005 he helped take Don Brash to the brink of power and this year he took Key all the way.
Ushered into parliament on a safe list seat, Stephen Joyce is a new MP on a rocket. But last week he was displaying the kind of pathological hyper-modesty shown by MPs when their leader hasn't yet announced his cabinet, conceding little more than that he is part of Key's "bigger inner circle".
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