Christopher (or "Chris" now he that he is a retail politician) Luxon has received a curt reminder that when entering Parliament, do not get ideas above your station.
It's a fundamental absurdity that after forging a stellar career in the business world — where he reached the height of leading Air New Zealand for eight years — the now National MP starts his political career as the proverbial third former.
This week, National leader Judith Collins awarded him a range of spokesmanships: Local Government was the most significant. He is also associate spokesman for transport and holds an iwi development role.
But the key defining issues in local government right now — water reforms, infrastructure and urban development — sit with more senior colleagues.
Luxon sits unranked at the bottom of the class with other new MPs who do not have a smidgeon of his experience.
Luxon has also been overlooked for a role in tourism, where he has more street cred than any other National MP and could easily have gone toe-to-toe with Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.
This is just one problem with National Leader Judith Collins' post-election reshuffle.
Collins has said she wants to match her best talent against key ministers in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's new Cabinet.
But with Luxon she has not done that.
Meantime, Ardern polevaults newcomer MP Ayesha Verrall straight into Cabinet where she became Minister for Food Safety and Seniors, with associate roles in Health and Research, Science and Innovation.
This enables Cabinet to draw on the proven track record Verrall has as an infectious disease doctor, and a key scientific adviser to Ardern during the Covid-19 pandemic. She is an expert on vaccines and tuberculosis, and Ardern has said publicly that Verrall helped the government "enormously" during the pandemic, and the World Health Organisation had studied her report as an example of best practice.
As a counterpoint, Luxon also advised the Ardern Government. He previously headed the Prime Minister's Advisory Council and is across a great deal of current policy issues.
But that knowledge seems to count for nowt — at this stage — with the Collins-led National caucus.
Luxon himself cruised to victory in the Botany electorate with almost 5000 votes between him and his closest competitor. He told NewstalkZB there were three things he needs to do to make him good at the job: understanding his electorate; his party; and Parliament.
The fourth unstated thing was to "suck it up", don't get ideas above your place as a neophyte MP, accept that you are unranked and have been dished the proverbial, put your head down and wait for the wheel to turn — as it does, if ever so slowly.
Politics is a brutal sport in New Zealand. Unlike Singapore, where former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong famously said "I would rather that a Government has the flexibility to appoint the right person to be the Minister for Finance, than to compel that Government to select from whoever is available in the House".
There is not a real meritocracy. Many politicians are former political staffers — including Chris Bishop, Nicola Willis, Paul Goldsmith and Todd Muller on the National side. On Labour's side, Ardern, Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins similarly have held staffers' roles before becoming MPs.
Former merchant banker Andrew Bayly has been made shadow Treasurer. Bayly has not had a high profile in Parliament.
He had previously held responsibilities for Revenue, Commerce, State-Owned Enterprises, Associate Finance, Small Business and Manufacturing under Collins' first reshuffle after she was elected unopposed as National's leader following the Muller debacle.
Bayly is a straight-shooter. He is intelligent and worldly. He also has different ideas to mainstream National party ideology — for instance, questioning tax cuts in a treatise he published during the earlier Covid lockdown.
But the jury is out on whether Collins' decision to split the finance portfolio in two — a shadow Treasurer (Bayly) and shadow Finance Minister (Michael Woodhouse) will work in practice.
In Australia, the roles have long been differentiated with the Treasurer being all-powerful, running economic policy and the Budget. The Finance Minister essentially supplements the Treasurer's role, and is responsible for government expenditure, financial management, and the operations of government, as well as administering the portfolio through the Department of Finance.
In Australia the Treasury reports to the Treasurer. Here there is just one organisation — the Treasury.
In 1996, the role was divided with NZ First leader Winston Peters being appointed Treasurer following coalition negotiations. National's Bill Birch was made Minister of Finance where he proceeded to exert considerable control through the Budget process.
The prior history may be why former National leader Simon Bridges decided not to take one side of what is a two-legged finance stool.
The arrangement will be mercilessly attacked by Finance Minister Grant Robertson as a sham.
Collins clearly had to reward both Bayly and Woodhouse, who are among her key supporters.
But it simply looks as if she was too concerned at Bridges' potential star power to put him in the key role.