The border, the border, the border.
We were told ad nauseum this is the most important line of defence, given that Covid-19 had been eliminated and the only way in was through the border.
So it was comforting to be told on June 23 that the Health Ministry was including a "regular health check and asymptomatic testing of all border-facing workers" in its testing strategy.
Excellent. They're on top of it, then.
It was even more encouraging when new Health Minister Chris Hipkins, in his first solo press conference over a month ago with his Health hat on, said he had asked the ministry for more meaningful testing data.
The daily numbers, he said, should be broken down into tests of people staying in managed isolation or quarantine (MIQ) facilities, MIQ and border workers, and those in the wider community.
For three weeks, the Herald has asked the ministry repeatedly for this testing breakdown with no response.
Newshub's Michael Morrah was apparently similarly disappointed with the lack of data, so he compiled his own through various channels. He reported last night that two-thirds of border workers in Auckland hadn't been tested a week ago.
The Government's overall Covid-response has yielded world-leading results, but it was astonishing to learn today that the 6000 to 7000 border and MIQ workers - about half of whom are frontline workers - haven't been regularly tested.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defended the system yesterday, saying the workers had daily health checks and were tested if they have symptoms.
But this is at odds with the testing strategy, which specifically included "regular asymptomatic testing".
If that had happened, it would have accounted for the Covid-carriers who don't get symptoms, which is up to one-third of them, according to Otago University epidemiologist Sir David Skegg.
Those who do have symptoms can be infectious for a few days before they get them.
That's the point of regular testing. It captures the very real possibility that someone without any symptoms can have Covid-19 and be spreading it.
It wouldn't have been fail-safe - there can be false negatives - but it's another line of defence.
The Government's reluctance to require mandatory testing of these workers may be down to a lack of clear-cut legal authority.
But there are avenues to address this. A new law, for example, was passed to implement MIQ co-payments for New Zealanders returning from overseas.
And there are Public Health Response orders. That's how someone staying at an MIQ facility has to be considered low risk - and to test negative - before they can leave.
Such orders are exactly how the Government is now requiring testing of border and MIQ staff - but Hipkins couldn't say whether it would be for everyone to be tested once, or for regular ongoing testing.
Pressed today on the issue in general, he conceded: "I would have liked to have seen more testing earlier."
There remains an abundance of public confidence in Ardern and the Covid response, but such shemozzles do the Government no favours and feed an increasingly louder narrative that the Government isn't as competent as it makes itself out to be.
That's exactly what the Government had to defend itself against when its policies weren't followed for regular testing of those staying in MIQ facilities, or before they could be granted compassionate early leave.
It is particularly disappointing this time to have had no response to media requests aimed at ensuring the Government's own strategy for border testing was being followed through.
That suggests there was no such testing at all, or if there was, no one was keeping track of it.
A quick glance at Melbourne is all you need to see what's at stake here.
The Government has so far been good at beefing up the weak areas of its Covid response. Let's hope that happens again here.