It is not often you hear Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern directly slapping down her former deputy PM and former foreign minister Winston Peters as she has done over the Solomon Islands.
But the Solomon Islands negotiating a security deal with China has struck a nerve with Ardern and it has led to a marked shift in her language directed towards China.
On RNZ in the morning, she described the development as "gravely concerning" - unusually strong for Ardern.
She swiftly challenged any inference from Peters that New Zealand had taken its focus off the Pacific and suggested his successor, Nanaia Mahuta, would have visited earlier if it had not shut its borders over Covid.
At her post-cabinet press conference, Ardern further suggested that China was offering nothing that other countries including New Zealand and other members of the "Pacific family" were already providing with police and Defence Force personnel there.
"This is our backyard," she said.
She didn't say "not China's" but it was clearly implied. The Foreign Affairs ministry has asked China's ambassador in to talk about it.
In a speech last year, after suggestions New Zealand had gone "soft" on China and was not committed to Five Eyes, Ardern made it unequivocally clear that New Zealand was still in the old friends' club.
This week she has shown it and walked the talk: not just in response to the Solomons, but also by sending NZDF personnel to Europe.
The grave concern, of course, is that China's warships and security forces could finally find a home away from home in the region as its rivalry with the United States steps up.
There have been numerous reports over many years that China has been looking for friends with potential benefits for its navy in Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati.
And it may finally have found one.
This situation has been years in the making, however.
The rivalry between China and Taiwan for recognition has been intense in the Pacific and fuelled by payments of one sort or another.
The unrest in the Solomons in November was over the decision by the Manasseh Sogavare-led government to switch to China after years of recognising Taiwan.
However, China promised to continue funding the Constituency Development Fund which MPs have access to for projects in their electorates – a localised version perhaps of the Provincial Growth Fund.
The Solomons itself may be experiencing something similar to what New Zealand experienced during the thaw with the United States after years of the anti-nuclear rift - that its growing friendship with China gives it greater leverage in dealing with China's rivals.
Winston Peters launched his Pacific Reset policy in February 2018, with a big boost in funding and greater engagement with the Pacific - although he chose to launch it in Sydney, not Honiara.
His successor Mahuta has clearly not had the same focus on the region as he did, but that would not have changed this situation. There are bigger forces at play.