If and when Labour's Shane Jones gets another shot at being a Cabinet minister, it is to be profoundly hoped he takes on board the Auditor-General's blunt criticism of his handling of the Bill Liu citizenship case.
Nine months in the political wilderness awaiting Lyn Provost's painstaking report may well have done the trick. There has been an awful lot of soul searching on Jones' part during his enforced sabbatical - even to the point of considering whether to chuck politics in altogether.
Now that it has been confirmed that Provost's inquiry could find no evidence of corruption, Jones is a man unchained and seemingly raring to re-enter the fray. His colleagues, however, may deem his reinstatement to Labour's front bench his last chance to prove himself, given previous questions about his energy and commitment.
National has pointedly reminded Labour leader David Shearer that he got all high and mighty with regard to the recent report by the Deputy Auditor-General into the proposed SkyCity national convention centre. Labour should consequently apply the same standards to something that happened in its own backyard.
In particular, National highlighted the Auditor-General's observation that Jones knew there were ongoing investigations by Immigration and the New Zealand police into the Chinese millionaire and that he should have consulted those authorities before making his decision to grant Liu citizenship.
Not only that. Jones' decision to approve an urgent private citizenship ceremony so close to the decision granting that status caused consternation among Internal Affairs staff.
To some degree, Jones, who was making the citizenship decision only because the Internal Affairs Minister at the time, Rick Barker, had "connections" with Liu, also seems to have been the victim of a fair degree of bureaucratic incompetence in terms of the information and advice he received from officials - or rather the lack of it.
Even so, Jones should have been more alert to the perceptions that Liu was receiving special treatment from Labour because of whom he knew and to whom he was giving donations.
As Provost repeats time and again, decisions in the public sector not only have to be right, they have to be seen to be right.By John Armstrong Email John