James Shaw has been portrayed as the undeserving victim of unreasonable activists in his party. He's the pragmatic politician, they're the no-compromise radicals.
That's not entirely fair. His party is right to be disappointed with him as Climate Change Minister.
Yes, it's true that Shaw managed to successfully do what no one else has managed to yet and build the legislative infrastructure New Zealand will need to meet its climate goals. And it's also true that he's managed to pretty much ensure that legislation will withstand changes of government because he convinced both major parties to vote for it.
That has taken some hustle for which he deserves credit. But only to a point.
Labour always had to support the legislation. You could hardly have the "climate change is my generation's nuclear-free moment" PM voting against it.
National had to agree as well. The party is too often portrayed as not doing enough for the climate which means it then has to make up for it by proving to centre voters that it does really care for the climate.
Shaw can take credit for the work, but he can't take credit for the political context.
And it's true that Shaw deserves slack for watering his climate ambitions down. He had to compromise to get both sides of the House to support his bill. But that doesn't fully explain how disappointing the results have been.
What should've been his biggest moment was a flop. It was on a Monday in May, three days before the Budget. That day Shaw unveiled his plan for how the country would achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The plan had been hyped, big time. It would - we were told – cause the biggest economic shake-up since Rogernomics. Such was the sacrifice we would collectively have to make to save the planet.
But the plan came nowhere close. It was embarrassingly short on detail. There was no ban on new gas connections to houses. There was no ban on importing petrol and diesel vehicles. There was no decision on congestion charges. More than half the "actions" were yet TBC. Of the 284 actions in the plan, 158 were still plans to make plans. At best, the plans would reduce NZ's emissions by 4.1 per cent by 2025.
Shaw had no one to blame but himself and his own government. He didn't need to hustle with National to formulate that plan. He only needed to do the policy work and convince his mates in Labour to agree.
Neither he nor his Labour colleagues would have to do much of the work themselves. They could say yes and then leave it for future governments to grapple with. It should've been a slam dunk for him.
Shaw's defenders have this week pointed to the Greens' achievements in implementing the clean car discount scheme which has led to a huge uptick in the importation of electric vehicles. The Greens can claim credit for that.
But to see how pitiful that really is, compare it to how much further comparable countries have gone. The UK has banned petrol and diesel car sales from 2030. The EU's banned them from 2035.
James Shaw hasn't.
Instead, he earned New Zealand a Fossil award at COP26 last year for refusing to update our National Determined Contribution to constraining global temperature rises.
It is true that the Green Party's activists are more demanding and unreasonable than the extreme ends of most other parties. It is true that they are more likely to throw their toys and demand death or glory. But this time the record shows they do have reason to feel disappointed.