The Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Roe v Wade decision on abortion rights for women in the US has handed Christopher Luxon his first real test in managing the broad church that is his caucus.
One of National's most unashamedly conservative MPs, Simon O'Connor, put out a post on social media saying simply "today is a good day". By Saturday night, the post had been pulled down – at the request of Luxon.
O'Connor was not responding to requests for comment – but he will not necessarily be comfortable about that instruction and nor will National's other conservatives.
O'Connor is the vanguard of National's conservative MPs – the one who points out, regardless of the risk of backlash, that freedom of opinion cuts both ways.
Having that opinion curtailed will not sit easily with O'Connor – it could be taken as a gag, although one of the concerns of the leadership was the way O'Connor aired his view. It was seen as too celebratory and almost goading with no acknowledgement of those affected, or that others might feel differently. It paid no heed to how it would play politically.
At the core of it, Luxon was trying to neutralise the issue – the last thing he wants is the National Party to get embroiled in the abortion debate while he is trying to build up an election campaign fought on the cost of living. His media slots this week will now be on this issue, instead of his upcoming trip to Europe.
It was an unhelpful and unnecessary distraction from his primary goal: winning an election.
In that regard, the bigger risk to Luxon's chances are not O'Connor's views – but his own.
It is also obvious that he knows that.
He has not changed his own position on abortion – nor should he. It would be cynical and nobody would believe it.
What he has done is acknowledge others feel differently and stated multiple times that if he was PM he would not lift a finger to change the current abortion laws and will continue to fund abortion health services. He has done so, he said, "to give women certainty".
Luxon has even gone so far as to say he "empathises" with women who have found the US decision distressing. He is clearly aware of the risk his own views could imperil support from a significant chunk of the population.
Much has been made about whether Luxon's response has been adequate, in contrast with PM Jacinda Ardern's very quick and strong criticism of the decision in the US.
She did not seek the refuge of that old line of not getting involved in the politics of another country.
But she has more leeway in her caucus to take an unequivocal position than he does.
Both National and Labour have MPs who have voted against abortion reforms, an issue which has traditionally been a conscience vote.
One notable comment was Nanaia Mahuta's description of the overturning of Roe v Wade as "draconian and does not support the right of women to choice". Mahuta voted against the recent moves to liberalise abortion laws.
But there are more National MPs and they vehemently guard their right to speak freely on it.
They will also be suspicious about what role the party's liberals – especially deputy Nicola Willis – may have played in Luxon's edict to O'Connor.
Some may also have raised an eyebrow at Luxon's statement that O'Connor's post "did not represent the position of the National Party". The National Party is not supposed to have a position on abortion – its individual MPs are, and they vary.
It is unlikely there will be any open revolt over the issue - tolerance within caucus for distractions will be low while a victory in 2023 is close enough to sniff. That will be enough for discipline.
But in trying to ensure it did not become a distraction, Luxon may well have stirred up a hornet's nest for himself behind the caucus doors.
One thing O'Connor is right about is that freedom of speech and opinion cuts both ways – no matter which side is in the majority. In the comments after O'Connor posted there were a number who agreed with him.
Luxon will need to find a way to negotiate with his MPs a way to express those views.
Luxon's first response to the US situation was to state that it was "an issue for the American people who have a different set of constitutional arrangements than us".
He is quickly finding out it is also an issue for Christopher Luxon and the NZ National Party.