You don't have to be in human resources like me to know that an organisation that cycles through three leaders in a matter of months is unlikely to be firing on all cylinders. And so, at one level, the incompetence on display from the National Party over the weekend shouldn't surprise anyone.
But the whole "you may not love us, but you can trust we know what we're doing" schtick is so central to National's political appeal that it's hard to overstate the degree to which Paul Goldsmith's $4 billion costings blunder strikes at the heart of the party's brand.
It must surely put to bed any hope that National under Judith Collins will enjoy a change in fortune between now and election day.
It's now painfully obvious that ditching Simon Bridges was strategically daft. By the time the dust has settled, the gambit will have burned off not one, but three, party leaders.
Even in the unlikely event Collins clings on post-election, it will be a zombie leadership at best. (Sure, Helen Clark survived similarly treacherous straits and prevailed in the end. But I know Helen Clark – Helen Clark is a friend of mine – and, Judith, you're no Helen Clark).
Basic accounting errors are less worrisome to me than some fundamental, and fundamentally wrong-headed, policy ideas.
The tax cut proposal was dressed up as temporary stimulus, but it's really just more of the same. Who believes that National in government wouldn't (a) make the cuts permanent and (b) find spending cuts to pay for them? This is just more right-wing austerity that lines the pockets of the already employed at the expense of vital social services and infrastructure.
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If reality matched their rhetoric about stimulating the economy, they would be boosting benefits and lifting the minimum wage – every single dollar goes straight back into the economy. But, no, they would prefer to give extra to people like me on the principle "whoever needs it least will get the most". Meanwhile, in the midst of a global pandemic, they quibble about giving Kiwis a few extra days' worth of sick leave.
I have expressed my frustration on these pages and elsewhere with Labour's careful incrementalism, urging a more transformational approach. But at least Ardern and co are moving – albeit way too slowly – in the right direction. National seems stuck on failed austerity policies that will surely accelerate and entrench inequality.
The National Party are heading for a 2002-style walloping. In the soul-searching that follows, I hope they take time out from blame and recrimination to consider that they don't just need a better leader, but much better ideas.
Mā te mohio ka mārama - From knowledge you will have greater understanding.
• Shane Te Pou is a former Labour Party activist.