Technically, Lianne Dalziel resigned yesterday - but we all know she was sacked.
All week the Immigration Minister has been claiming that comments meant to deceive readers, viewers and voters were "technically correct" when we all knew they were a lie.
If it weren't for a lapse in judgment by Prime Minister Helen Clark on Thursday, the dismissal would have occurred then, instead of yesterday.
Pressure against Ms Dalziel peaked in Parliament on Thursday with demands from the Opposition that she resign for pretending she did not know how TV3 received a document related to the Sri Lankan teenage expulsion case when she herself had been the source.
So what did Helen Clark know about the sorry saga yesterday that she did not know on Thursday?
The line is she now has evidence that on Monday night Ms Dalziel told a bald lie - as opposed, presumably, to the more acceptable curly kind she later peddled. It is not a convincing reason.
Ms Dalziel's quote to an NZPA reporter exposing the lie has been widely published since Wednesday.
There were factors at work other than technical breaches.
Helen Clark needed to seize the initiative. It has been a shocking week for her, beginning with a poll that thrust National ahead of Labour, the Dalziel saga gathering pace day by day, and claims of a slow Government response to the lower North Island floods (the fact that Helen Clark called it a "drought" last night on Holmes might suggest a week of pressure).
To make matters worse, she was opening a bungy centre outside Queenstown on the day she needed to concentrate her critical faculties on a minister who was becoming a greater "lie-ability" by the day.
While the Prime Minister may have had a lapse in judgment from her previously high standards, she is not hard of hearing. By yesterday morning a chorus of commentators had suggested that this was a story that was not going to go away.
In fact, she would have known that more storms lie ahead.
The Ombudsman's report on the "lying in unison" scandal is due to be released next week.
That report centres on an unrelated issue of "lies" and whether the Immigration Service lied to the Ombudsman about the existence of a memo suggesting there had been a conspiracy to lie about the arrival of suspected terrorist Ahmed Zaoui in New Zealand in 2002.
The Opposition would have had a field day with Ms Dalziel's credibility as she stood up in Parliament to answer question about possible lies told by others.
What National MP Murray McCully says in his weekly online commentary written before Ms Dalziel was sacked explains it.
"Executing Dalziel would have been a disaster [for National]. A whole next week of question time delight would have been removed before our very eyes. No fish to swim round and round the barrel."
Helen Clark will also know she is next in the Opposition's sights, given that the offending document was sent by someone, possibly an Immigration Service official, to her own electorate office in Sandringham.
An Immigration Service inquiry into who sent the documents does not satisfy Helen Clark - she has ordered a State Services Commission one. She knows what the Opposition would do with an internal inquiry.
She will do her utmost to avoid being tainted by another saga with Paintergate-type possibilities - slow question-time tortures that cover people in muck and erode credibility.
Had Helen Clark not sacked Ms Dalziel, she would have been forced to stand up in Parliament day after day and defend her.
Now she has regained the moral high ground.
And Labour MPs such as David Cunliffe, Damien O'Connor, David Parker and Clayton Cosgrove can begin wondering which of them might reap a good promotion from yesterday's ill-wind.
They will have sympathy, too, for a fallen colleague.
There is much to be admired about Ms Dalziel. In most respects, she has been an outstanding minister.
And there is much to admire in her own rehabilitation: she rose from a miserable time in Opposition - dumped from the health spokesmanship and the front bench - to rise as one of Labour's safest pair of hands in a range of complex portfolios.
But she also has a naturally cocky stride of someone who is rarely beaten.
Together with the political swagger of a second-term Government, it has proved a lethal combination. It is a lesson to all her colleagues.