We saw two distinct faces of Winston Peters within 20 minutes at Parliament on Thursday.
He took the podium in the Beehive Theatrette at 1.30 pm, ostensibly as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister but in reality as the New Zealand First leader, certainly showing no respect for his party's Coalition partner Labour, if not demonstrating outright disrespect.
A few minutes later he was in the House dutifully and properly answering questions on behalf of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as her deputy, on his best behaviour.
The word Labour never crossed his lips although he did slip in a "Sunshine" to David Seymour which is Peters' code for "drongo".
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Under alert level 2, Ardern has resumed her practice of Thursday visits to regions, leaving Winston in charge. It is always a risk.
Will he really answer on her behalf, or will he answer as he would want to answer, more loosely, less kindly, only to have the Opposition throw her official answers back the next time she is there in the flesh?
It may be that Peters played it by the book in the House to over-correct his earlier actions.
Thursday was the day that the Coalition announced its compulsory arbitration policy for commercial rent disputes under Covid-19 that has seen New Zealand First and Labour at loggerheads.
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The terse exchanges during the day between the relevant minister, Andrew Little, and Peters and his wingman, Shane Jones, about the delay and their differences were an escalation of anything we have seen to date in the Government.
Peters issued a statement setting out the failures of his coalition partner to understand contract law. Little said his coalition partner's mischaracterisation was laughable, and Jones chimed in to say New Zealand First was not going to be "absorbed" by Labour.
It was more than an exchange of opposing views. It had a sense of disdain about it.
The spat was not an isolated incident this week. The embarrassing leak of a Cabinet paper to National about the move to alert level 1 has thrown suspicion on New Zealand First.
There is no evidence it came from New Zealand First but the trust question is being raised within Labour.
And with only 15 weeks until the election, New Zealand is about to undergo an evolution of MMP that has not been seen before.
Peters at the podium was adamant that New Zealand First was committed to seeing out a full term as a partner in the Coalition Government.
But it has never been done before. This is the third Coalition Government under MMP and neither partnership in the previous two survived long enough to campaign as partners at the next election.
New Zealand First busted apart during its partnership with National, as did the Alliance in its partnership with Labour. All governments since then have been minority governments of one large party supported by several smaller parties.
Much is made of the fact that Peters has not lasted the distance in government, but this is the furthest any coalition has survived intact.
It would be difficult under ordinary circumstances for New Zealand First to project itself as a stable and constructive force in government while trying to differentiate from its partner.
The Covid-19 pandemic makes it simpler but harder. It is the only policy game in town so differentiating from your own government's response in the middle of a crisis is a delicate balance.
What New Zealand First has to fall back on is the fact that it has done a good job of differentiating throughout the term of government, albeit often as a handbrake on Labour and the Greens.
New Zealand First is fighting multiple opponents, its frenemy in Labour and its enemies in National and Act.
It is accepted that the massive support Ardern received for her management of the Covid-19 health crisis transferred directly from National to Labour, which is unusual and likely to soften as the economic crisis deepens.
New Zealand First is looking to capture some of that support as it softens rather than it returning directly to National or to Act.
If soft National voters assess that new National leader Todd Muller does not have a chance of leading the next Government, New Zealand First stands to benefit.
The jury is out but he doesn't have long. The latest leaked poll from UMR suggests voters have suspended judgment on Muller and the leadership change has had virtually no impact with National's polling at 30 per cent to Labour's 54 per cent, NZ First on 5, and the Greens on 7.
It is not hard to see why. It has been an inauspicious start despite having now released two new policy proposals for Covid-19 business recovery.
Muller's media appearances continue to range from adequate to dreadful. His position on moving to alert level 1 was as "confusing" as the Government's on Tuesday when he declined to give a position.
And with one notable exception, Ardern is making mincemeat of him in the House.
Getting that leaked Cabinet paper which he waved in front of Ardern in the House was a big moment for Muller, and the paper has been used to good effect for National.
It may just have stopped those National MPs who supported the leadership coup from asking themselves, "What the hell have we done?"
Spin doctors often argue that it doesn't matter what happens in the House or on caucus runs but they only use that line when a leader is performing badly.
The fact that the Cabinet paper boosted National is the best reason to assume it was not leaked by New Zealand First. Anything to make National look good, as the leak did, would be anathema to Peters.
Muller described the positioning by Peters over alert level 1 as an "increasingly dysfunctional Government".
It doesn't feel like that because it has been a managed move that does not threaten stability.
Unlike the more highly charged engagement with Andrew Little, the disagreement over the speed of the move to alert level 1 pits Peters against Ardern so it needed to be managed carefully.
Despite the weirdness of Peters opposing his Cabinet's own timelines, it was dissent by consent.
Parliament will be in recess next week as New Zealand moves to alert level 1 and almost normal life and party leaders will be stepping up pre-election preparations.
The next few weeks will be crucial because with so little time until the election, the polls are likely to set trends.
Expect to see more of Peters as New Zealand First leader, and certainly not on his best behaviour.