Much has been made of new National Party Leader Todd Muller's choice of office decor - particularly a souvenir red cap from his trip to witness the US elections.
Whether the MAGA cap represents a skewed and dangerous world view, or is simply a harmless keepsake from a memorable time abroad is up to the eye of the beholder. Such as item can, however, taint opinions in some people.
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Muller clearly realised this and sought to head off any possible criticism by saying he found US President Donald Trump's style of politics "appalling" and he hoped critics "can understand I am a respectful person". "My collection of political paraphernalia doesn't in any way seek to align myself to any particular political positioning of any individuals offshore."
Politics is the art of conjuring an impression and Muller will have learned much from this early foray into the netherworld of social media criticism.
However, it's already clear he is not planning to mince words.
By claiming the Government has "17 empty chairs" in Cabinet and then naming a mere handful of Labour ministers as having any merit was a broadside fired into the heart of his quarries' encampment. Any Labour MP at the table not insulted is clearly not paying attention, and perhaps deserving the sobriquet. He doubled down on the line yesterday by singling out Phil Twyford, Kelvin Davis and Willie Jackson for poor performance.
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Muller has also set himself apart from the air of graciousness pervading the Beehive under the watch of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose apparent forgiveness for errant ministers during her term has, at times, been astonishing. Muller's blank response to his predecessor Simon Bridges' request for the foreign affairs portfolio may demonstrate a harder line.
There are other indications too.
Clearly enjoying the attention, having shaken free of life as a party underling, Muller also wasted little time before poking a sharp stick at his rival. Speaking about his small business portfolio, he said: "We are at a time when high ambition and lofty rhetoric, whilst nice, does not actually help secure a job." It would seem the word "nice" is the antithesis of "effective" and Muller believes this is not a time for the nice guy.
There are initial suggestions of pragmatism in his reshuffle of National's party responsibilities. Those who remained loyal to Bridges weren't entirely banished and this is where Muller has exhibited he has more strings to his bow than all-out attack.
Taking the helm of a party last week's Newshub-Reid Research poll revealed had just 30.6 per cent approval among potential voters, Muller now has 115 days to convince New Zealand he has the plan to lead the country out of the carnage forced upon us by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
After all, it's not so much the hat that matters, much more so what is under it.