The National Party was not having a good time of it before the lockdown.
In a caucus meeting just one week before the most recent Covid-19 outbreak was discovered, leader Judith Collins faced down some of her MPs for their apparent disloyalty.
Collins was unhappy with the way some MPs had publicly suggested they were less than supportive of the caucus' decision to vote against a ban on conversion therapy.
Collins allegedly unloaded on one of the most high-profile detractors, Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop.
Bishop, along with Nicola Willis and Erica Stanford, is considered a standard-bearer of the caucus' liberal wing.
One source told the Herald that Collins "completely lost it" at Bishop. Another source described her tirade as "f***ing ballistic".
It was said to be the most tense caucus meeting of Collins' reign. Stanford was allegedly given an unsparing dressing down for being upset over the way the vote played out.
The MPs had disagreed with National's decision to bloc vote against a ban on conversion therapy, which happened the week prior.
The caucus meeting that preceded the conversion therapy vote had also been unpleasant, with warring factions feuding over whether MPs would be given the right to vote with their conscience and back the ban.
Caucus voted against allowing a conscience vote, forcing each MP to cast their vote against the bill. But instead of swinging in behind the caucus' position, some MPs gave none-too-subtle hints they were less than supportive of their party's stance.
At National's annual party conference, immediately following the vote on conversion therapy, liberal MPs donned rainbow ribbons in support of the LGBT community.
The ribbons were interpreted by many, not least Young Nats, who were responsible for making and distributing them, as a public rebuke to the way the caucus voted.
Collins was not amused. Division exhibited on conversion therapy was seen to have distracted from the conference, where she had sought to reassure members that the caucus was united and disciplined.
Following the conference, Collins wanted to remind her caucus that becoming a member of Cabinet means swallowing a lot of dead rats. A minister won't always get it their own way, but they have to sell the Cabinet line all the same.
Bishop's great sin on the conversion therapy issue vote was a leaked exchange between himself and a woman, where he revealed he was unhappy with the way the party voted on conversion therapy.
The Herald was told Collins was furious about the way the party's conversion therapy spat had spilled out into the public domain – and one source said it would not be surprising if disciplinary action followed it.
Collins is currently doing performance review interviews with her MPs and intends to do a reshuffle soon. But disciplining the liberal wing is difficult because they're among the caucus' top performers.
Collins set a low bar for taking disciplinary action against her caucus. Former leader Todd Muller was forced to announce his retirement after being outed for briefing the media.
But unlike Muller, who had already retreated from frontline politics, Bishop is one of National's top performers, and, as Covid-19 spokesperson has done a good job at rebuilding National's tarnished reputation on the most significant political issue of the day.
Fast-forward a week, and despite the fact that the nation is in lockdown, the fundamental tension between the caucus and the liberals is unchanged, despite being of lower importance.
Bishop has proved his worth during the latest lockdown, adeptly walking the line between pointing out criticism of parts of the response that aren't working, but not venturing into the sort of criticism that the public appears to have little appetite for currently.
Collins isn't taking her eye off problems in the caucus - far from it.
In fact, she's ramped up meetings over lockdown, regularly checking in with MPs. Instead of the caucus' single weekly Tuesday meeting, caucus is now meeting most working days.
The caucus met last Thursday, and they've met on Monday and Wednesday this week.
Some of the meetings are just MPs making use of their spare time to discuss policy ideas and get briefed on pressing issues. On Wednesday, for example, the caucus chatted about issues affecting the rural sector (possibly to allay fears the party had strayed from its rural roots).
But the meetings aren't simply a digital caucus kumbaya. MPs are under no illusion that Collins is using her digital catch-ups to exert power and control over her caucus, who have precedent for restlessness during periods of heightened tension, like lockdown.
For National's handful of new MPs the meetings are about making sure they know how politics works during a lockdown - essentially, you keep your head down and let the front bench do the work.
Collins has cards up her sleeve too. She's using lockdown to continue her performance reviews of MPs, with a view to doing a reshuffle in the near future. The reshuffle is likely to be small and surgical - and say more about a reshuffling of the party's policy priorities than it will about any internal pecking order.
But as all MPs know, a small reshuffle is the ideal place to bury some bodies - they're just hopeful the bodies belong to someone else. Collins will need to be watchful too; if she ruffles too many feathers, she may find the next MP to be reshuffled is herself.