Anyone who thinks select committees are mundane affairs should have tuned in to the Epidemic Response Committee today to catch a glimpse of Sir David Skegg and the Opposition MPs.
The expert epidemiologist was a hurricane of fresh air whose commanding presence in the virtual room underscored the value of two things: holding those in power to account, and expert advice.
The unimaginable circumstances we now face have seen Parliament adjourn and the Opposition all but vanish into irrelevance in the past two weeks.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: 'Generations' of Kiwis to pay for economic recovery, says Finance Minister Grant Robertson; Government recruits shopping spies
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Lockdown 'not enough' top professor tells Govt video conference
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Uncontrolled spread could kill 14,000 in NZ
• Covid 19 coronavirus: What will New Zealand life look like post-lockdown?
The Prime Minister has rightly saturated the airwaves to tell the country what is happening and why, but in doing so, her decisions have been unchallenged other than by the media.
The committee was set up in Parliament's absence so the Opposition could oppose, but today's hearing was more about constructive criticism than anything particularly oppositional.
Simon Bridges, Michael Woodhouse and David Seymour in particular deserve credit for their considered questioning, and for resisting the temptation to beat their chests for previously calling for wider testing, more stringent measures at the border and even a lockdown before one was announced.
But it was Skegg who framed the session in his preliminary remarks.
As health boss Ashley Bloomfield and Health Minister David Clark listened, he pressed the need for urgent action, including tighter definitions for an essential service, mandatory quarantine for all people arriving from overseas, and a massive boost to testing and contact-tracing.
It was two weeks ago when the World Health Organisation called for nations to "test, test, test", and Jacinda Ardern responded, as she has since then, by saying we could do all the testing we wanted.
If it wasn't happening, it was down to the decision of expert clinicians, she said. The subtext was: Just because you think you should be tested doesn't mean you should be tested.
While more than 21,000 tests have now been done, Skegg pointed out that they were skewed towards symptomatic people either returning from overseas or in close contact to Covid-19 cases.
That means the numbers showed little about the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community, the key factor in determining the success of the lockdown and whether all this social and economic upheaval is worth it.
There is also the glaring fact that we are still using only about half the daily capacity of 3500 tests.
Today's committee hearing seemed to carry a lot of heft.
Under questioning, Bloomfield and Clark said the testing criteria would be loosened, all frontline workers would get the PPE they wanted, and community newspapers could be deemed essential.
A couple of hours later, Ardern confirmed the new position on community papers, and appeared to have shifted tack on testing.
"Test, test, test," she said, even conceding that the current regime was not telling us enough about community transmission.
Skegg's expertise also added weight to his words when he addressed the committee after Clark and Bloomfield had left.
He pilloried Clark for his language - or lack of language about "eliminating the virus" - and then made it clear what's at stake.
Fail, and lockdown would be the norm for months or even years. Act now, and avoid the fate of the United Kingdom or United States, where thousands have died.
Success was a very real possibility and life could return to normal in a month. Overseas travellers could even be embraced again, eventually, so long as they could prove they weren't Covid-infectious.
If the committee's work continues as it did today, it will be a valuable tool in aiding the Government towards success.