Sometimes it takes someone a little removed from the fray to put the right perspective on an issue.
New Zealanders have sorely needed such insight on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, so deeply polarised are they about its potential benefit to this country.
And there could be few people better placed to supply this than former Prime Minister Helen Clark.
It was her Labour Government, after all, which initiated the path towards the TPP through the proposed P4 free trade agreement with Chile, Singapore and Brunei.
That original pact was designed to be both comprehensive and high-quality. The disappointment with the TPP is that some of the sheen wore off as more and more countries joined the negotiations.
The final product would not, Prime Minister John Key conceded last week, be "gold-plated" for New Zealand.
In such circumstances, and given past assurances that this country would not settle for second-best, there may have been some inclination to walk away from the negotiations.
Ms Clark's statement, a rare one on a domestic issue since she became the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, emphasised how foolish that would be.
What had always haunted her as prime minister, she said, was the development of a series of trade blocs of which New Zealand was not part. That would be "unthinkable" for this country as an export-orientated, small trading nation.
"So, of course, New Zealand has to be in on the action with the TPP and go for the very best deal it can as the agreement expands beyond the original four economies to a wider regional agreement."
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters suggested there should be a caveat to Ms Clark's statement.
It should apply, he said, only if the deal was a sound one for this country. As always, confirmation of this will lie in the detail.
But New Zealand negotiators' appreciation of this requirement was underlined by their refusal to sign up until dairy products' access to the American, Canadian and Japanese markets was thrashed out.
As the PM has been keen to emphasise, the benefits for other sectors should also not be ignored.
Equally, New Zealand cannot ignore the status and importance of the TPP. A final agreement would set the rules for world trade for the immediate future.
It would also be pivotal to international standards in other fields. New Zealand cannot afford to walk away empty-handed simply because they have failed to deliver the optimal outcome.
It needs to be inside the tent influencing and supporting the TPP regime and its development.
Ms Clark's statement also carried a message for her former Labour colleagues.
Curiously for a party that formerly embraced free trade, it has insisted its support for the TPP is contingent on the meeting of several "non-negotiable bottom lines".
Labour may imagine this plays well with those people adamantly opposed to the pact.
But most importantly, as its former leader implies, it reveals a failure to to appreciate the big picture. That dictates a small trading nation cannot afford to stand aside from an agreement of such magnitude for the Asia-Pacific region.
Debate on this article is now closed.