The most interesting aspect of the Government's spectacular faceplant over taxing fees on KiwiSaver was not the fact they couldn't work out that regular New Zealanders would react the way we did (although that was a pretty amazing insight into how out of touch with real people they really are).
The biggest insight was the panicked backdown because it answered the question as to how desperate they are to hold on to power.
Early in Labour's tenure, I couldn't work out - as various disasters unfolded - whether they were inept or Machiavellian. It turns out the answer was both.
And lately I've been trying to work out whether they just can't get out of their own way and don't know how to resurrect their chances next year, or they've given up and are going for broke just getting all the ideological stuff they want enacted so it's harder for the new government to unpick.
Things like Three Waters, co-governance, the centralisation of health and education.
They have succeeded in changing health to the point that I doubt National would undo it - it's too hard and the sector surely couldn't withstand yet more re-organisation at a time it really needs help in producing a few surgeries and finding some nurses.
So what we appear to have discovered from last week is that the desperation is real - they like power and they don't want to give it up.
So the big question is, what else will they bail on to turn their fortunes around?
How much ideology can they put to one side in order to convince us that the election should be a contest, as opposed to an exercise of exorcising them from office?
I have said for at least the past year that Three Waters will never actually see the light of day.
Not only is it a shocking idea, it's been shockingly executed.
Councils still aren't on board, many never will be, and too many regular New Zealanders see this as a power grab for Māori.
The only issue for someone like Jacinda Ardern, who would lead the group that wants to stay in power, is whether she can convince the Māori caucus to acquiesce.
They have always struck me as consistent and principled in their beliefs around these matters (no matter how out of touch it is, how much damage it causes). They would rather lose than give up seeing what they perceive to be a historic wrong put right.
Which brings us to co-governance.
Outside the economy, which has almost certainly already been in recession this year and many suggest has another session of negative growth still to come, co-governance is the single biggest philosophical stance that has undone them and, unless they kill it, will finish them off.
Their immediate issue is whether they recognise it. After all, if they couldn't see the KiwiSaver tax backlash coming, maybe they still think up-ending democracy to accommodate their obsession with the Treaty is a viable idea for Kiwis. Small tip - it isn't.
So if they work that bit out, can they walk away from it, and in walking away from it, how do they explain it?
Does the PM roll out another of her "we've listened" lines?
And then the biggest problem of all, do any of us believe them?
Their credibility is shot.
Many of these issues, particularly co-governance and Three Waters, were not mentioned in the election, they surprised us after the vote. Add the tricky wording and approach to their various tax changes and most of us, no matter what they say, will quite rightly ask, "are you walking away from these policies for good or just to suck us in again long enough to win a vote?"
Which ultimately is why I said in the last column that they are toast.
Even if they drop the worst of what they want to do, the damage has already been done.
When you arrive trumpeting openness honesty and transparency - and that turns out to be nothing more than a polytech-level marketing pitch - the reputation is damaged, and as the experienced operator understands, reputation is hard earned but so easily lost.