How hard is it to be Judith Collins right now? Finally, finally, you're the leader of the party, and it turns out the election is just not about you.
Infuriating. Handed the chalice of leadership only to find it's not so much poisoned as completely empty.
Meanwhile, as if you need any more problems, your marketing and social media people are making fools of themselves and of you.
National has released its first TV advertisement: blue background, Collins grinning, Collins imploring, Collins surrounded by a bunch of – hang on, who are those people? Is that the "strong team"? It would be a surprise if many TV viewers could name more than two or three of them.
The takeout is that the party couldn't think of anything to say, or do, or even show us, but, hello, excuse me, is anybody out there?
I saw it on Facebook and the next video that popped up on my feed was an official National Party message about Labour and tax. It starts with Jacinda Ardern saying "capital gains tax", an out-of-context clip designed to suggest she supports it. The takeout is that the geniuses running National's Facebook campaign are away with the fairies. No, not the good fairies.
To be fair, National's problems are not, fundamentally, caused by its advertising. Or its destabilising changes of leadership.
This election is about the PM. The big unknown, at this point, is whether more than half of the voting population will want to register a personal vote of thanks to Ardern for her leadership through the pandemic.
The election is also about the Greens: whether they will remain in Parliament. In my view, that's the truly important question.
And the election looks likely to spell the end of the career of Winston Peters, just as several fringe right-wing parties jostle for attention. The question with Advance NZ and the NZ Public Party, and with the Outdoors Party, the New Conservatives, Vision NZ, the One Party and Act is: just how far to the right will they turn out to be?
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Yes, Act. The party has welcomed gun lobby libertarians with open arms, placing some of them high on its list. That's a clear signal it has lurched to the right and is now competing directly with those other parties for the angry fringe votes.
Which brings us back to National. Maybe it won't beat Labour this election. But it's still the leading mainstream centre-right party. In fact, it's the only one.
And Collins is not a Wicked Witch, anymore than Ardern is your Fairy Godmother. Despite what some of her opponents and indeed supporters think, she's not Crusher Collins.
Right now, she's trying to work out how can National re-establish itself as a responsible force in politics, with her as its smart, decisive and also empathetic leader. It doesn't come easy, especially for a politician whose supporters may be hoping for a bit of blood.
You can see the conflict on her face: she has a way of hesitating slightly and then presenting an expression. There's the raised eyebrow, what does it mean this time? Is that really a smile?
Collins isn't alone. Probably most people in National understand they have to reinvent their party. But there's far less agreement over how or what. That's one way to read this year's leadership ructions.
The conflict is evident in some of the policy. While National maintains its profile as the party of law and order, tough on gangs, it also supports health-based solutions for dealing with meth use. Although not usually a champion of public health, this week the party promised a 30 per cent increase in funding for children's dental care.
National now has "smarter and greener" in its core proposition – it's right there in that silly ad. Given that Collins led the caucus faction opposed to the Zero Carbon Bill, that seems like quite a shift.
And yet in transport and energy, the conflict of old and new is very exposed. National has big plans for electric vehicles and more public transport spending. But it continues to support new fossil fuel exploration, it's still obsessed with roads and it wants EVs to be allowed to use bus lanes.
Those policies, combined, would encourage more cars onto roads, only some of which would be EVs. Buses would become less efficient, congestion would increase for all road users and carbon emissions would rise.
And then there's Covid. After a wobbly start, National has taken the responsible route, accepting the Government's science-led pandemic strategy and arguing for better run border controls, not a more open border.
Collins has echoed the fears of business people about lockdowns but she has not, on the whole, opposed them. And she has certainly not pandered to those who claim it's all a hoax. She deserves credit for it.
But will it last? That guy in Te Aroha with a tattoo of "Crusher Collins" as a Bond girl pointing a gun: what does he think? He's definitely there for the blood, so will she persuade him there's a better way?
You have to assume someone getting a tattoo of a politician qualifies as a core supporter. But the image he chose is not the image she's trying to present.
And that points to her biggest challenge. Collins knows how to hold on to Tattoo Man. But can she do it while rebuilding a party for the future and winning back some of the Jacinda fans?
The party launches its official campaign launch this weekend. There's a lot riding on it.