Believe it or not, Trevor Mallard will make a fine diplomat.
The trouble for Jacinda Ardern is that most people won't believe it.
Such is the reputation of the Speaker, that even when he turns out to be a good diplomat, few will recognise it, let alone acknowledge it.
People expect him to behave badly.
Most of what he does as Speaker, and previously as a minister, has been uncontroversial and unseen. He is competent, usually acts in the best interests of Parliament and New Zealand, and can work collegially.
He has undertaken reforms that have allowed Opposition MPs to put the heat on ministers if they don't know their stuff.
He has not been a great Speaker inside the House because of his intolerance of hubbub, which tends to come more from the Opposition.
Mallard is 80 per cent good, 20 per cent bad but it is the bad that is remembered, particularly two episodes as Speaker.
The most recent was turning on the sprinklers in Parliament grounds when the anti-vax occupants refused to move and started using the lawns as an open toilet.
It was a highly popular move with veteran protesters of the Wellington Left who thought their behaviour dishonoured true protesters - but most of the country believed Mallard made matters worse.
The other occurred in the aftermath of a report he commissioned on the culture of Parliament.
He falsely claimed a parliamentary staffer had committed rape, and was forced to reach a legal settlement, but he then used parliamentary privilege last year to state he had committed sexual assault.
Judith Collins, who was National leader at the time, called him the biggest bully she had ever seen in Parliament and called on Ardern to "grow herself a spine" and remove him as Speaker.
It was the same Judith Collins who spent a fortnight with Mallard on the Speaker's tour in Europe trying to help get a free agreement with Europe over the line.
Mallard has long been tipped to take over the ambassador's job in Dublin, having visited family in Ireland over many years.
Mallard was one of Helen Clark's best ministers, with 13 various portfolios, and would also have been one of Ardern's had he not set his sights on becoming Speaker in waiting in 2017. He knew how to get things done. Chris Hipkins, one of Ardern's best, was his apprentice.
Despite low approval ratings for Mallard in last week's 1News-Kantar poll (48 per cent disapprove of the way he is handling his job, 17 per cent approve and 35 per cent don't know) Ardern will remain staunch.
She and Mallard are old mates from a friendship forged in the adversity of Opposition and in supporting Grant Robertson for the leadership. She has a loyalty to Mallard which is not necessarily understood. They have planned his exit for some time.
Whatever political capital she loses in sticking to the plan, she has time to recover it before the next election.
She also knows there would be a political cost in keeping him on until the next election.