Public clearly backs PM's claim to the right to privacy but his refusal to let teapot tapes be released shows him as just as inconsistent as any other politician
For John Key, this has been the best of weeks and the worst of weeks.
It has been the best because public opinion has clearly swung in behind him in his quest to defend his right to privacy.
There is a strong and widespread feeling that the Prime Minister's conversation with John Banks should not have been taped without the pair's permission.
Many people see this as so fundamental, the argument stops then and there for them. Such is this feeling, National's support could conceivably start rising again, sweeping Key to an emphatic victory next Saturday.
There has been little fuss about his lodging a complaint with the police. To the contrary, many will see that decision as a positive measure of how tough and determined he can be. It is about leadership - and leadership matters in election campaigns.
Yet, this has also been the worst of weeks by Key. His strategic thinking has been undermined by a string of tactical bloopers and weird statements, such as police having spare time to investigate his complaint.
He has got into a fight with the media. The media are not standing in this election, however. Winston Peters is standing.
Key's unwillingness to talk about what was discussed with Banks over a cup of tea gave Peters open slather. The New Zealand First leader has exploited that to the maximum by drip-feeding titbits of the conversation and embarrassing Key day after day.
Claiming the high ground on privacy rights has consequently come at large cost elsewhere. Banks' chances of holding Epsom for Act have nose-dived. Don Brash has been crucified.
Nothing has been gained by withholding permission to publish the contents of the secret tape. By not doing so, Key lost control of events.
This episode has also hurt Key in showing him as obstructive and inconsistent as any other politician. He has ducked questions by saying New Zealanders want him to talk about the issues that really matter. He now says he cannot comment because the matter is being investigated by the police. However, the police are not investigating what was said at the meeting.
What will be remembered from this saga, however, will be the images of Key, particularly his body language and his unwillingness to answer certain questions. The sighting of another side to Key has come too late to help Labour but it might well have come just in time to help Peters.