Last time Chris Luxon went to a caucus retreat he had barely been sworn in as an MP.
National's 2021 caucus catch-up at the Basin Reserve in Wellington will be remembered for then-leader Judith Collins' unheeded missive about party discipline and focus, and an amusing image of Luxon falling over himself playing cricket (this author sympathises).
This year, he'll head to the party's caucus retreat in Queenstown (which begins on Monday) as leader, having ascended to his party's leadership after just a year in Parliament.
There'll be some changes. Sitting down with the Herald ahead of the conference, Luxon said he'd decided to shake up the way the party is organised - but one year on, issues over caucus discipline remain.
On Thursday, when Luxon probably wanted to talk about his poll bump on 1 News (his first appearance as leader), he was instead forced to watch Simon Dallow and Jessica Mutch McKay discuss the conduct of Harete Hipango, who had managed to entangle herself in two scandals before Parliament has even resumed sitting.
Luxon said he isn't afraid of laying down the law.
He admits that in his business life, he has had to let people go, although he prefers the term "restructuring".
"I've restructured companies," he said.
He intends to make clear his high performance standards to caucus, saying he'll be giving regular feedback to caucus.
He said he wants to create a "feedback culture" in the National Party.
"That means sometimes we'll give you good feedback. Sometimes we'll give you development feedback," he said.
Interestingly, for the leader of a party critical of what it sees as the Government's soft touch, Luxon often shies away from hard touch terms himself - sackings are "restructurings", criticism is "development feedback"
The beautiful, spacious office the leader of the opposition occupies on Parliament's third floor is usually occupied with crammed bookshelves and political memorabilia. Judith Collins had a framed photo of herself with Angelina Jolie, and Simon Bridges had an assortment of road signs relating to EVs.
Luxon's office is bare. He's just managed to get Parliament to hang some new art, and he's shunted the massive bookshelf that usually sits behind the leader's desk to one side, lightening up the room and freeing it of clutter.
The bookshelf is so far empty. Luxon said the room's Spartan aspect is because he's a "digital guy", although I spot an old-fashioned paper copy of British Prime Minister David Cameron's memoir on his desk.
Cameron - the leader who triggered Britain's Brexit referendum, lost it, and quit - might not be a prime minister Luxon wants to emulate, but as leader of the opposition, Cameron detoxified an unpopular party and brought down the longest-serving Labour government in British history. Perhaps there's a "learning" (as Luxon presumably calls a "lesson") there.
Luxon said he's refreshed, having taken a week off over the Christmas and New Year break.
Following that it was back to work. He convened a meeting of his top talent, deputy Nicola Willis, finance spokesman Simon Bridges, and Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop, along with chief of staff Cameron Burrows to hash out some policy ideas.
Luxon won't say if this is his kitchen cabinet - the term applied to the tight group of MPs leaders use to make big decisions.
"Well, they're the people that have really got our senior portfolios, and are ready to lead the party together," Luxon said.
He has a few other organisational ideas for his 33 MPs. He's made a few decisions on how he'll shake up caucus, but we won't hear about them until his MPs do in Queenstown.
He's already decided to create a shadow Cabinet of 20 MPs, with all his other MPs becoming unranked. Shadow Cabinets are uncommon in New Zealand. Labour Opposition leader Bill Rowling used a shadow Cabinet structure, but members later joked that it only met a couple of times under Rowling's long leadership.
National's caucus has usually been given a degree of freedom to come up with policy, which fed into a powerful front bench committee of MPs, where it was finessed, changed (and maybe dumped), before being made public.
Luxon is going to make changes to how this organisation works, but he won't say how.
"I'm going to talk to the caucus first," Luxon said.
"I come from a different place. Fundamentally you've got 33 talented people. I'm less hung up on hierarchy and tenure," he said.
"In this place, in the 12 months that I've been here, it can get very hierarchical very quickly, and I've come from a place where it's all about what the most talented people can get the aces in the places on the right assignments, and make sure you're then being really clear about where you're going," he said.
Each MP in Luxon's caucus will also be given some targets to reach. This is also fairly unusual for a Government.
Again, Luxon isn't giving these away ahead of caucus.
He'll give MPs his "expectations" and chat about the "deliverables that I want them to deliver in each of their portfolio areas".
He wants his MPs to "think about how they will measure their own performance and about how I will measure their performance," Luxon said.
Again, he's not blowing the lid on what these targets might be ahead of his caucus meeting.
Luxon has also asked whether he'd put his mind to three big policy issues he'd promised to think about over summer.
At the end of last year, Luxon said he'd be looking at all of National's policy positions over the break, and checking whether they were fit for purpose.
Luxon said he had come to some decisions - and noted he'd been reviewing policy along with his team of top MPs: Willis, Bridges, and Bishop.
"We caught up and we had a good set of planning days. We've got some good work under way," Luxon said.
"Louise Upston did a great job kicking that [review] off in the last six or seven months of last year," he said.
"There's a lot of good thinking there - what I want to do is just sharpen it up. I want to get much better at sort of being able to articulate, well what are the two or three things that we would do in this portfolio that New Zealanders can go, 'okay they're opposing the Government here in this portfolio, but here's what they would do as an alternative'".
He has come to a decision on what to do with three big portfolio questions: the party's policy of repealing the top 39 per cent tax rate, a policy to increase the superannuation age of eligibility, and opposition to the current conversion therapy ban bill, but again, he won't say what those decisions are.
That's a few ideas for caucus to get their heads around in Queenstown: organisation, policy, and targets.
But retreats aren't all plain sailing. As many of his predecessors discovered - one of the nasty surprises of being leader is that while you might have big ideas for your caucus, sometimes your caucus has nasty ideas for you.