Two years ago today, Jacinda Ardern stood on the forecourt of Parliament looking radiant but without a clue of what lay ahead.
She had just returned on the bus from the swearing-in at Government House and delivered a few words to the faithful who had been entertained in the meantime by Fat Freddy's Drop.
They were not carefully crafted but no one cared.
It was better than being chauffeured into the Beehive basement and whisked upstairs for the first cabinet meeting without the public "inauguration" celebration under the Seddon statue.
"I can tell you, there will be good days and there will be bad days," Ardern concluded.
"But no matter what, we will always remember the vote that you gave us, the vote of support and the depth of gratitude that we owe you and that we owe New Zealand… Let's go and do this."
It was a faultless day in Government.
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Simon Bridges was four months away from being elected National leader, and even then most commentators wrote him off as having no effect.
No minister, let alone Ardern, had had time to make mistakes or bad decisions.
New Zealand First had not had time to assert itself as a more than equal partner in the Coalition.
It was Ardern's day to savour. It must have felt as though she had swept the party to power.
Of course she was going to thank the voters rather than crassly thank Winston Peters or the New Zealand First caucus for choosing her.
But Peters had always been leaning Labour's way, and even under Andrew Little it was a real possibility that few recognised.
The combined total polling of Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens barely changed in the months leading up to the 2017 election, hovering around 50 per cent in Colmar Brunton poll before Ardern's elevation and eventually landing on 50.4 per cent in the election.
National made the choice for New Zealand First much easier when it offered an inferior deal – for example a promise to explore the establishment of a provincial growth fund rather than Labour's promise of a $3 billion PGF.
The fact that Ardern came to power with no established leadership baggage also made the choice easier and she had conducted a more than credible set of negotiations with New Zealand First and the Greens.
In the two years that Ardern has had to develop as a leader, her best quality has been her collegial management style and management of the complex coalition arrangements with both parties.
It is knowing when to differentiate and when to collaborate.
Nowhere has that been more evident than in this week's climate change announcements.
Ardern is not a tub-thumper and doesn't pretend to be. But in Greens co-leader James Shaw she has an important ally whose strategic approach on longer-term outcomes has found common interest with Ardern and Peters' immediate concerns to address the brewing rural rebellion.
Peters has already unwittingly inflamed the rebellion. Peters' party insisted not only that the Government stop negotiating with National on a bipartisan basis over the Zero Carbon Bill a few months ago but it insisted that National's preference for the Climate Change Commission to set the methane reduction targets be replaced with a specified target.
That target now in the bill, a 24 per cent to 47 per cent reduction on 2017 emissions by 2050, is the most contentious part of the bill and one of the key issues on which the current rural rebellion is based. New Zealand First have been unusually quiet about it while National makes hay.
Knowing the potential for political damage on any climate change policy, Ardern has been closely involved with the farming sector in the outcome on the Emissions Trading Scheme.
The outcome legislates for agriculture to join the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2025 but the Government reserves the right to reverse that if farmers are making good enough progress cutting emissions within the next two years.
It is hard to see a National-led Government repealing such a provision. That is a testament to Shaw's bid to get enduring policy solutions even if it makes him a target for the zealots who would rather force destocking through immediate punitive taxes.
Peters was missing from the announcement on Thursday with agriculture sector leaders and he kept his triumphalism reasonably well contained – as he should have.
This was a moment for James Shaw and Jacinda Ardern, not Peters, and he understood that.
The outcome was not driven by New Zealand First but by Shaw and Ardern's own political imperatives to get buy-in from the sector.
Methane targets aside, the encouragement by Ardern for the Greens and New Zealand First to own their policy gains is what sets this Government apart from previous ones.
Who doesn't know that New Zealand First has $3 billion to dispense in provincial New Zealand, that it wants the Auckland Port shifted north and that it vetoed the capital gains tax.
Who doesn't know that the Greens got rid of plastic bags, want incentives for electric vehicles and want recreational cannabis legalised.
Differentiation was driven by gains in respective agreements, especially New Zealand First's, which are in a different league to the relatively puny agreements of the past 20 years.
But collaboration is driven by the fact that the way the numbers fall no major decisions can be made without the support of all three parties.
The Government has had its good and bad days, definitely no faultless ones, and plenty of shockers as former Housing Minister Phil Twyford knows too well.
But with little experience behind her, Ardern has managed relationships with Labour's partner parties surprisingly well for the past two years.
And that makes it more likely that the parties will be able to withstand the inevitable strains that will emerge in the coming year before the election.