The Aussie banks have overplayed their hand in the push back against Reserve Bank's capital proposals.
The worst thing about threatening to sell-out, if they don't get their way in this debate, is that it undermines all the good work the banks do on sponsorship and marketing to convince Kiwis how committed they are to this country.
The threats laid brutally bare just how much it's the bottom-line that really counts.
Submissions by the likes of ANZ Group chief Shayne Elliott and BNZ parent company National Australia Bank, made it clear that the fundamental basis of the relationship with this country is return on capital.
If that return can be beaten elsewhere, then that is where the capital will flow.
And their timing has been terrible too.
Penned for the Reserve Bank deadline of May 17, the tough-talking submissions pre-date the ANZ chief executive scandal which poured mainstream media attention, and a good deal of public scorn, on the sector.
So the Aussie banks have overplayed their hand. But we should be careful not to overplay ours.
Piling in critically is not good for New Zealand. I've never been a fan of bank bashing.
I don't consider the banking system fundamentally corrupt. I don't want to tear down the walls.
Editorial: Too late for a royal commission into banking
ANZ calls in PR heavyweight as Finance Minister talks tough on banks
Will regulators get straight answers from ANZ's board?
As we used to say during the Global Financial Crisis, there is only one thing worse than an profitable bank - an unprofitable one.
It worries me that writing critically about governance deficiencies and regulatory proposals might put me in the same camp as conspiracy theorists.
There is always a rich vein of anti-banking sentiment running through society.
As with much anti-capitalist rhetoric, bank bashing takes for granted the daily benefits the system provides to the majority of citizens.
From the roof over your head, to the entertainment streaming on your smartphone and the craft beer you drink while you watch it - you can be sure that there was a banker involved in bringing these things to you.
Borrowing and lending are economic magic tricks that enable us to push fast-forward on the realisation of ideas and dreams.
Banking - for all its faults and excesses- has funded many of the great leaps in human civilisation.
We should regularly assess the rules. We should discourage greed and excess.
But we need the debate to stay dispassionate.
There's a risk that the "pick a side" mentality, infiltrating so many areas of modern life, spills over into banking.
When we look at those who are most fearful of change in the sector right now - other than the bankers themselves - they tend to be those most vulnerable to higher borrowing costs.
Highly indebted farmers and small-business people are justifiably nervous about the possible impact of the changes.
There may well be a price to pay if the Reserve Bank imposes tougher capital ratios on the banks.
The counter argument is that short-term costs, in the form of higher interest rates, would be offset longer term, in the collective savings of avoiding banking collapse and taxpayer bailouts.
That highlights another reason the threat to withdraw from New Zealand was an ill-advised tactic.
Simply warning about the risk of higher interest rates if capital changes go through was working fine.
If you make this about people's back-pockets then short-term thinking usually has the upper hand.
The Reserve Bank was up against it in the public debate.
But the threat to pull out of New Zealand turned the debate into an issue of sovereignty.
It then becomes an issue of national pride - it becomes emotive.
Suddenly people are prepared to bear all sorts of costs that would otherwise be unpalatable.
Just look at the bloody-minded attitude of hard-Brexit supporters in the UK.
I don't think the Government or Reserve Bank is about to veer off down that path - although I don't think they were particularly impressed by the threats either.
The other problem with the threats is that most of our brokers and fund managers would actually welcome a sell-down.
There is a strong nationalistic streak running through New Zealand's small financial community.
Many can't speak publicly because of their business relationships with the banks, but support for the Reserve Bank's stance and disappointment about ANZ's recent issues runs much deeper than the handful of voices we've heard on it.
There is also a bit of self interest - a bank sell-down and could mean new listings on the NZX.
If we take the Australian banks at face value then there may be a rational case for an orderly, partial sell-down.
If ANZ, or the others, wants to lower its exposure, due to higher capital requirements here, it could float a 50 per cent stake in the New Zealand business.
That could deliver it $9 billion or so to deploy more profitably elsewhere, while leaving it with a controlling stake and considerable good-will with the New Zealand public.
Meanwhile the NZX and local capital markets would get a huge boost. Sounds like a win-win.
The real problem is that no one in the local market believes this will happen.
The profits the Aussie banks make are too good relative to risk in this market and likely still will be.