It will be three strikes and you are out for hardened criminals as the government is pushing ahead with a new law that will see offenders caught committing the same offence three times spending much more time in jail.
It was the first formal get-together for ministers since the summer holiday and it was straight down to business with National doing a deal with its political ally Act to introduce a tough new law cracking down on hardened criminals.
"We want to see the worst repeat offenders held to account and we want survivors of serious crime to see justice being served," says Prime Minister John Key.
The "three strikes and you are out" bill was Act's idea but it has not been able to get the numbers to push it through because of concerns it was too harsh, so it has been softened up and is now called the "three strikes and get the max" law.
It means three times repeat offenders will spend the maximum time allowable under law without parole in prison.
Act's original version of the law would have seen all those offenders sent to jail for at least 25 years.
That could have cost billions and put real pressure on New Zealand jails already bursting at the seams.
The new version is significantly watered down. It will only affect those committing 36 of the most serious crimes ranging from sexual violation to murder.
And the penalty has been softened too.
For a first offence criminals will get the standard sentence. Second time they get the sentence handed down by the judge, but with no parole and third time guilty they get the maximum penalty, also with no parole.
Third time offenders caught sexually violating someone will get 20 years without parole, aggravated robbery will get 14 years and murderers will spend the rest of their natural life behind bars.
"Their victims, they don't get a second chance, they don't get three strikes they're dead," says Act leader Rodney Hide.
The cost of three strikes is $26 million a year in 20 years time, to pay for an estimated 288 extra beds.
The government says that is the price of justice.
Labour is sceptical the new law will have any real effect as they say it has been watered down so much it is really just a face saving exercise for Act.
Lawyers have previously expressed concern as they say it should be up to judges to determine sentences.
The government says it has listened to that concern and has given judges and out clause where if they decide it is manifestly unjust to hand down those harsh sentences they can hand down an alternative sentence instead.