Jacinda Ardern arrived in the debating chamber on Thursday in a bright red jacket, looking remarkably similar to the day she took over the Labour leadership three years before.
If she knew then what she knows now she would certainly have done some things differently in Government.
Lessons have been learned if Labour needs another party to form the next Government - although other parties will be last thing on Ardern's agenda today when she launches Labour's election campaign.
The term "campaign" may be overstating it. Labour's campaign will be more about continuity in governing competently through a Covid pandemic and what could be at risk if that continuity lost.
If the launch follows the pattern of her speech to the party's election congress in Wellington, it will be more a rallying call to the team of five million to maintain its resilience and keep out the Covid enemy with Ardern at the helm.
There will have to be some Labour branding and Ardern's policy announcement today will be about jobs. But like most of Labour's policy though the campaign will be about Covid.
That means almost total focus on Ardern and Grant Robertson – and Dr Ashley Bloomfield by association.
And ominous development this week with Bloomfield saying community transmission is inevitable and that people should be buying masks is not without political consequence.
There is no suggestion that the timing of Bloomfield's advice was political or anything other than at a point at which he believed there had been sufficient stockpiling of masks to avoid panic buying and shortages.
But nonetheless, a heightened sense of impending outbreak is not unhelpful to a Government campaigning on its response to wave one and preparedness for wave two.
The fact is that Bloomfield and Ministry of Health have finally caught up with the views of other experts and the public but slowness to respond to things like testing and PPE has not dented Bloomfield's saintly reputation.
In recognition of the advantage he gives to the Government by association, his appearances next to ministers have now stopped during the campaign period.
The decision to make the campaign less about Labour policy and all about governing through Covid will be a major disadvantage not just for the National Opposition but for the Greens and New Zealand First.
What will be reinforced, especially if there is an outbreak during the campaign period, is Labour's pre-eminence.
Any outbreak could well result in a Labour majority Government, assuming it is handled competently.
If, however, Labour were to negotiate with the Greens and or New Zealand First for a second term, things would be different.
Whether through arrogance or ignorance of the negotiation process, Labour in many ways was the party short-changed in the three-way arrangement with New Zealand First and the Greens to form Government in 2017.
The negotiations were almost all about New Zealand First and the Greens.
Labour barely got a look in, apart from its commitment to 17 policies in the first 100 days.
Admittedly some of those were its most important, such as its families package and fees-free scheme for tertiary study and training.
But unless it was among those 17 policies or mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, which was largely a rehash of the formal agreements with other parties, nothing else was guaranteed.
Ardern and her ministers have tried to make a virtue out of that, suggesting that having to negotiate many of your policies after the Government was formed was a pure form of MMP.
It wasn't. It was a party that was so unprepared for Government that its focus was on what the other parties wanted or didn't want in order to get them across the line, rather than its own.
It even failed to get a commitment for its flagship fair pay agreements to be implemented or specific policy gains for Māori, two important Labour constituencies whose support was not rewarded in any tangible sense.
So what will happen to all that past Labour policy that never made the cut in 2017.
What will happen to the fair pay agreements that were partly progressed but stalled? Will they be re-announced as Labour policy?
All ministers are responsible for their area of policy development but most of that will simply be adopting the current Government's workplan.
In the case of the fair pay agreements (a return to national awards in selected sectors), the taskforce report sits with the Ministry of Business Innovations Employment for further response.
The unions and Māori constituencies are likely to be among the few areas with new policy announcements. But it wont be reheating old policies. It will attempt to find virtue in not burdening voters with much policy.
Ardern's decision not to campaign on a traditional manifesto is risky. Covid is clearly the most important issue affecting the country. But it is not all-consuming at present.
Law and order policy is not going to be any less relevant because of Covid. Mining on conservation land is not going to be any less relevant.
They may matter less in terms of how people decide to vote but parties whether in Government or not have a responsibility to be more than on-dimensional.
Reducing the number of promises is a sure way to reduce the likelihood of breaking a promise, for sure.
But it is also sometimes politically unethical to do controversial things that were not promised, debated or mandated.
And the decision by Labour to "govern" instead of campaigning makes this more likely. What they are not saying may be important.
Labour did not have policy to ban offshore oil and gas exploration last election. The Greens were the only party that had campaigned on it. Somehow they convinced Labour and New Zealand First that it could do something as drastic as that without having consulted the public six months earlier at the election.
It is a decision that more people probably support than oppose it and for that reason the Government got away with a very poor process.
But that is not an excuse for ignoring the fundamental importance of what elections are for.
Elections should not be about what you can get away with, whether or not it is in the name of Covid.