Amid the political firestorms now burning National to varying degrees - be it Auckland housing, swamp kauri exports or hair-straighteners installed in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - Cabinet ministers live in dread of one thing.
If the Prime Minister describes your contribution as "outstanding", it might be wise to check on your pension entitlements.
Murray McCully was accorded just such an accolade from John Key for his wretched role in the recent Saudi sheep shambles. Nick Smith has also been "outstanding", despite his efforts to tackle Auckland's chronic housing shortage becoming ever more desperate-looking.
The Building and Housing Minister was absent from Parliament yesterday, having been detained by a minor announcement in his other portfolio, Environment, which required his presence deep in a Bay of Plenty forest.
Labour was deep in suspicion that National was deliberately keeping the at-times hot-headed Smith away from the hot-house of Parliament.
Smith's absence prompted Labour leader Andrew Little to ponder a variant of the old question that asks if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
"If Smith creates a fiasco in the forest and there is no one to hear it, is it still the media's fault?" inquired Little, referring to Smith's bizarre accusation on Tuesday that journalists were putting too much pressure on him.
The Prime Minister was too busy listing Smith's achievements in his housing-related portfolio, big and small. What a great privilege it was "to be able to read out an extensive list that is actually making a difference to the people of Auckland", Key purred.
Also laying it on thick was Energy Minister Simon Bridges, who was keen to dispel Winston Peters' suggestion that he and Key might not see eye to eye on electricity pricing. Bridges praised Key for having "very good expertise on these matters".
Bridges conceded, however, that he was probably not familiar with every statement that the Prime Minister had made on the subject as "I am not always privileged to be in the same room with the Prime Minister".
Bridges' chirpiness amidst National's overall weariness had a possible explanation. His energy officials are located in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but Steven Joyce holds responsibility for the whole caboodle.
As Labour's David Clark listed extravagances in the ministry's new headquarters and the dollar totals became ever more hair-raising (so to speak), Joyce did not bother to argue the toss.
Mr Fix-It had become unstuck.
He could console himself with one thought, however. At least he is not the Minister for Building and Housing. At least not yet.