About the Beehive, the swagger of some Government MPs has shifted.
Under-siege Housing Minister Phil Twyford has retreated from public interviews on the policy quickly becoming his Waterloo.
Happy to talk about transport, his shoulders hunch and his chin drops a few degrees to cut a visibly downcast figure whenever the K-word is brought up.
Krunch? Kansas? Kazoo?
Nothing like the threat of a reshuffle to make ministers question their performance.
Some of them well might. Although the increasing trend to duck for cover behind the human cannon fodder officials are providing as an added service might have lulled a few into a false sense of security.
Much has been made about the level of competence Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has to work with in the Cabinet ranks.
Shouldn’t that be level of incompetence?
So here’s a basic lesson on the mechanics of government.
Government sets the policy, and government departments enact the policy.
But it’s the Government’s political policy.
Ministers have to do their homework first because some officials may be boffins, but they’re not miracle workers.
Kiwibuild being a disaster has nothing to do with officials.
KiwiBuild is an unmitigated disaster. Dreamed up by Annette King in the back seat of a car, she latched on to it and set the original target of 50,000 houses because it sounded good in her head. A wish-list, not a policy.
Legend has it the close breathing of David Cunliffe down David Shearer’s neck was precisely what prompted the last-minute decision to blurt out 100,000 homes on the day of the announcement.
And here sits Twyford. He is the man responsible, because if officials start telling him he’ll need to build the equivalent of two Hamiltons, the red flag should have been raised and the question asked: Is this actually possible?
I think Labour knew deep down it wasn’t possible. They just decided to run with a fraudulent policy they knew they couldn’t deliver on, as they never thought they would actually win.
Sir John Key made a rare return to news headlines this week, sacking his ANZ chief executive David Hisco for his mischaracterisation of spending company funds.
It was a reminder of his complete zero tolerance approach of anyone who made him look bad. He knew he had a finite amount of political capital and he wasn’t prepared to spend any on anyone who wasn’t worth it.
Compare that to the current Government.