Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is yet to re-emerge from the holiday zone to face the election year, but has already got a political gift from abroad: another pasting from a high-profile Australian.
This came after Ardern visited a winery and a cheese shop in southeast Queensland on her holiday. The places put their photos on social media, and Australian media covered it.
We were told Ardern's visit – planned before the bush fires really kicked off - would send the message that those areas were Open for Business.
All Ardern had to do was buy some cheese and wine to get sanctified.
At the same time, the man whose holiday was interrupted by the bush fires was being lambasted for not being like Ardern.
That was Ardern's counterpart, Australian PM Scott Morrison.
All of this prompted The Project host Steve Price to question why Ardern herself had not holidayed at home.
He even suggested she holiday in Hamilton, before declaring he was sick and tired of Ardern's "do no wrong" schtick.
Morrison himself could be forgiven for secretly harbouring similar feelings about Ardern, so often have his own deeds been contrasted with hers.
This has happened with their different attitudes to climate change, and Morrison's clumsy initial attempts to respond to the bush fires were compared with Ardern after the mosque attacks and White Island tragedy.
Somewhat predictably, Morrison's personal ratings plummeted in the polls after the bush fires, whereas Ardern's soared after the Christchurch terrorist attack.
But such reactions in the polls tend to be short term. Ardern's ratings dropped back to their normal levels after a few months. Morrison also has quite some time to go before the next election.
Later this year, New Zealand voters themselves will get to decide whether they too are sick of Ardern's do-no-wrong. Ardern will be hoping to emulate Morrison in one respect: winning an election.
The year has yet to start in earnest. Politics is creaking back into life but things are still in the warm-up phase, the stretching exercises.
National leader Simon Bridges has started teasing out any post-holiday kinks as he prepares to embark on ensuring voters are indeed sick of Ardern.
Bridges questioned politicisation of the police after the raid of a right-wing activist by police looking for illegal firearms.
Bridges had corroborating evidence. He had seen top police having coffee with ministers at Parliament at some point. At this point, Bridges' knuckles were white from the pearl-clutching.
Green Party co-leader James Shaw's year began on a more cheerful note - with a complimentary tweet from Jimmy Neesham after hearing Shaw cross swords about climate change with radio host Sean Plunket.
NZ First leader Winston Peters was readying the ship of state literally. He was scraping barnacles off the bottom of a boat. His dog Beau looked on.
Getting rid of the barnacles on the boat...with Beau - the serious quality controller looking on! pic.twitter.com/jBogvfnwQF— Winston Peters (@winstonpeters) January 12, 2020
(Winston, if you're reading instead of fishing, Beau has got a bit porky. Take him for a few more walks before you get back.)
Very soon these January amuse-bouches will be replaced by Simon Bridges banging on about crims, gangs and extremists, Jacinda Ardern banging on about delivering and kindness and Winston Peters banging on in cryptic fashion.
Each will be strategising the best path to victory. Morrison's poll-defying victory is one template. Our politicians could also look to Japan's PM Shinzo Abe.
Late last year, I was in Japan when Abe became Japan's longest-serving prime minister.
Abe has had to steer his country through earthquakes, tsunami, and the global financial crisis while it struggled with deflation and a declining population.
On that day in Japan, there were no big celebrations - just a low-key press conference and a lot of analysis in the domestic media.
The general consensus was that Abe's legacy was not of fireworks or great societal reform, but simply of stability in unstable times.
What these may well show is that perhaps voters reward stability more than fireworks.
Perhaps voters themselves do not want all the bells and whistles. They simply want the country to be managed in a way that allows them to get on with their lives.
As one commentator pointed out in the Japan Times, there was one reason Abe had become the longest-serving prime minister: "The simple fact that Abe has continued to win elections."
Replicating that requires more than wine and cheese.