Ever the expert at rubbing salt into a wound, Labour's Grant Robertson was clearly delighted with polls showing Act leader David Seymour was more popular than Judith Collins – including among a fair portion of National voters.
After Seymour asked him a question in Parliament this week, Robertson replied "I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question."
At National's party conference this weekend, the MPs and delegates will politely pretend that particular poll result does not exist.
There may be some fireworks around the leadership of the party's board, but little will be said openly about Judith Collins' leadership. She will deliver fighting talk, and she will get her standing ovation.
The last time the party members met in such numbers was soon after the election result at a conference in Wellington. Then the delegates whooped and cheered as Sir John Key bawled out MPs for lack of discipline and for leaking.
This time, Collins has a sacrificial lamb in Todd Muller, who she heaved overboard after he admitted talking to the media off record. Muller will not be at the conference – and it remains unclear whether he will stick it out until the election.
It has given Collins a clear run-up to the conference. So MPs will be pretending everything is dandy, and that they are now a tight, well-oiled machine taking on the Government on the things that matter.
They will be hoping the plaster slathered over the cracks holds.
Today National's delegates will meet to make changes to the constitution, changes that were highlighted by a review of the party after the last election.
It includes issues such as the board structure, including a reference to the Treaty of Waitangi and candidate selections.
But other failings highlighted by that review will not be fixed by a few words in the party's rules.
They are up to individuals or the caucus themselves to address.
The one MP sullying the clear run-up to the conference was perhaps Collins herself.
After the election review slated MPs for going off message, Collins accepted she was wrong to get caught up in banging on about obesity for days on end.
Yet she is still banging on about bizarre side issues. Simon Bridges may not have been popular, but he was effective at picking the Government's weak spots and hammering away at it over and over again. It was annoying for those of us who had to listen to him day after day. But it was also effective.
Taxes, criminals, KiwiBuild, roads. Bang, bang, bang.
The 2021 list should be house prices, cost of living and Covid: the creaking MIQ system and the meandering vaccines rollout. Collins has been touching on those things.
However, the last week also delivered Collins trying to explain why she had said people wanted to "bottle" Police Minister Poto Williams, and talking at length about one of her MP's suggestions for a referendum on the name Aotearoa.
On the latter, the PM and Act leader David Seymour simply said that they did not give a hoot what people called the country – there were bigger things to worry about.
Collins dug in – and then blamed the media for asking her about in the first place. It may be why Seymour may be seen as preferred option as Prime Minister by so many National voters.
The Demand the Debate campaign has become horrendously scatological.
Each week another vague issue seems to be added to it. The billboards are getting more and more crowded, and the font smaller and smaller as the new ones are squashed in.
It has lost impact and focus.
The cracks below the plaster in National got a more serious stress test this week, when the Government's bill to ban conversion therapy came up in Parliament.
Such issues test the broad church of National – which tends to work well when the party is strong and led by a moderate who can negotiate both the conservative and liberal wings (or at least a leader with the power to overrule one side without demur).
However, it can be corrosive when the party is weak - and results in simmering resentment among the "losing" side.
National and Act both have a similar position on the bill: they support banning conversion therapy, but want to ensure parents will not be penalised if they intervene in children getting treatment such as puberty blockers.
However, National chose to oppose it unless the bill was changed. Act chose the more usual path of supporting it at the first reading, and deciding after the select committee whether to continue to support it.
It caused strife in the caucus. Bridges (the conservative wing) was in charge. The two liberal MPs, Nicola Willis and Chris Bishop, wanted to support it and are understood to have raised the possibility of a conscience vote. Others wanted a united stance.
There was some concern the two MPs would cross the floor and vote against the party on it regardless – something that is usually only allowed with approval from the leader or caucus.
That they did not do so was perhaps because it would lob an explosion into caucus unity at the very worst time: in the lead-up the conference. "National divided" was not the headline the caucus needed today.
Neither of them stayed in the Debating Chamber to listen or take part in the speeches. Nor will the division be kept under the lid forever.
It is far from likely that the bill will be changed to suit National – and so the risk of crossing the floor remains when it comes back to Parliament.
The issue will not directly affect Judith Collins' leadership. She was between the two sides.
But she might need to put in an order for a few more shipping containers of plaster to keep those cracks covered.