As Helen Clark and John Key can attest, the worst thing for a Leader of the Opposition is being ignored.
Jim Bolger operated as though Clark didn't exist, and when she became Prime Minister, she meted out the same punishment on John Key, rarely criticising him, let alone acknowledging him.
From Simon Bridges' perspective, he has had a splendid week.
In the general debate on Wednesday, Bridges was mentioned no fewer than 12 times by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and four times each by the other Labour speakers, except for Greg O'Connor.
He may have missed the briefing note from the research unit but he didn't mention Bridges at all and only once referred to the "Leader of the Opposition."
Considering how relatively unpopular Bridges is as leader, Labour appears quite worried about him.
There is a reason for that.
Few thought an unpopular National leader would have impact on a first-term Government with a highly popular leader in Jacinda Ardern and - even if the shine came off Ardern - that Bridges would be capable of capitalising on it.
But Bridges is not only getting cut-through, he seems to have a tailwind.
He is picking issues that resonate, and by having concise messages that are reinforced by social media, most of which are fair but some of which are not.
There was a particularly cruel but fair social media clip of Ardern's somewhat waffly statements around Ihumātao. He has also done one on the Government's fixation with Bridges.
Pretty clear who's making the most sense on Ihumātao. And it's not the Prime Minister. pic.twitter.com/kxiFLSXLhG— NZ National Party (@NZNationalParty) August 22, 2019
On Tuesday it was the Commerce Commission's report into petrol pricing, and the part that Government tax increases have played in price rises this term.
Labour's comeback during Wednesday's general debate was that National increased petrol excise by exactly the same amount as Labour has.
National's comeback was that theirs was the total over nine years of Government, not three years, and that it would remove the additional 10c a litre regional fuel tax on Auckland.
Twyford also pulled a Trump card. The conspiracy narrative from Twyford and colleagues this week is that Bridges has adopted a Trump-like playbook of seeking to destroy the reputations of various institutions of Government, such as the Treasury and Statistics New Zealand.
The truth is simpler. Oppositions oppose and will zero in on agencies that fail. It is not a conspiracy - it's their job.
Labour didn't do much of it during its last spell in Opposition, but between 1996 and 1999 when it was an effective Opposition under Helen Clark, it was devastating in its ability to target and magnify institutional failures.
Bridges would not achieve the cut-through he is getting were it not for failures of the Government.
The Coalition Government got through its first year with the rollout of some very big-ticket items, many in its first 100 days, and dismissing National as having inflicted "nine years of neglect" on the country.
Expectations were higher this year, heightened by Ardern herself declaring it the year of delivery at the very same Labour caucus retreat in which the failures of KiwiBuild were acknowledged by her.
It seemed like a rookie's error at the time to set up such high expectations. In hindsight, it was definitely an error.
Uncertainty still remains over that flagship policy six months later, and also over climate change legislation, criminal justice reforms and health sector reforms.
Ardern was a difficult target in the first year, and in the months after March 15. She is no longer taboo and Bridges is capitalising on it.
He is not having to contend with leadership speculation, and his caucus appears settled.
He had a good party conference with the added fortune of being attacked by the Green Party just before the conference in a social media ad about his accent, and just after the conference in a speech by co-leader James Shaw.
You can't buy such luck.
Bridges is making fewer errors. The decision this week to eschew the Government's proposed parliamentary budget office is seen as a mistake by some within the National Party but no one is going to die in a ditch over it.
It won't harm Bridges and it is not one that will sway voters.
The Greens promoted it because their economic credentials are traditionally regarded as low.
Labour accepted it because it was a relatively low-cost demand in the confidence and supply agreement and it feels hard-done-by from National's attacks on it in the past.
But had the office been up and running last election, it is not clear it would have made much difference to the "fiscal hole" issue.
Labour would have put its fiscal plan through the budget office instead of the economic agency Berl. Finance Minister Steven Joyce could still have described it as having an $11.7 billion "fiscal hole" and every economist would still have said it doesn't exist.
Joyce used demonstrably wrong language to accentuate the reality that Labour's spending promises left no wriggle room.
Labour suffered in the last campaign over its economic policies, but its shifting policies over capital gains tax was more likely to blame.
Bridges says he would not trust a supposedly independent policy-costing unit.
It is not a mistrust that should necessarily be shared about officers of Parliament but he is entitled to that view after the debacle over National's Budget "leak" when Treasury complained to the police despite knowing its own website search engine had been the source of the leak.
It helps that Bridges is looking resilient. He does not appear to have had a moment's doubt of the kind that finally killed off Andrew Little's leadership.
He has come through so many battles in 18 months from inside and outside the party that he is looking like a survivor.
There is no guarantee that will last.
Bridges and the party may have to face potentially damaging findings of the Serious Fraud Office investigation into party donations.
Decisions around the zero carbon bill could test caucus unity. Judith Collins' promised book could rock the boat.
But Bridges is in a stronger position to face such headwinds than he was at the start of the year.