John Key's body may have been holidaying in Hawaii for the past two weeks. His mind remained very much at home.
In the space of a 20-minute press conference on his return to Auckland yesterday, the Prime Minister made rubbish of the notion that his Government had been snoozing through the Christmas-New Year break oblivious to the worsening world recession.
Key is the last person who needs telling that 2009 is going to be a very tough year for the country and consequently an equally difficult one for his Government, to put it mildly.
It is doubtful while he was away whether much else interrupted his thinking about how he handles that challenge. If anything else intruded, the constantly ringing prime ministerial cellphone would have given short shrift to it.
On the other end of the line would have been staff and officials who have been beavering away back home ahead of today's stocktake meeting of senior Cabinet ministers on the state of the economy.
Prime Ministers don't really go on holiday, but the time away has allowed Key to reset his priorities, although circumstances are largely setting them for him.
He knows the country is expecting leadership from him even if the ramifications of what is coming economy-wise have still to sink into a lot of people's consciousness.
He knows it all now fundamentally comes down to one thing - jobs.
Today's meeting will probably be told what ministers already feel intuitively - that the "downside" economic scenario put forward by the Treasury last month is now reality. That means another 18,000 lost jobs to add to the nearly 50,000 expected to go already over the next 15 months.
Key and and his colleagues will today canvas further recession-combating initiatives that can be up and running soon after National's first 100 days "action plan" has run its course. This is part of Key's strategy of a "rolling maul of initiatives" over coming months rather than one major package.
That way the Government keeps some forward momentum, rather than being swamped by waves of dire economic news and then criticised for inaction.
In Key's absence, the charge of inaction was levelled by Labour, which secured a minor propaganda victory by portraying the ministerial "summit" as a rushed reaction to events. In fact, such a meeting had been scheduled some weeks ago for mid-January.
Having called the meeting, however, the Government has risked expectations of what might emerge from it being raised too high.
Key yesterday pre-empted that possibility by announcing that an employment summit will be held next month. Just what such a summit might achieve is a moot point. However, the announcement has taken some of the heat off today's meeting.
Key's second and equally adroit move was to grasp the nettle of whether a Maori flag should be allowed to fly on Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.
He has told Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples that he has no problem with a Maori flag being flown alongside the national one, even at Parliament - but with one proviso. That is that Maori must agree on which flag it should be and that among Maori there is a well-understood meaning of what that flag represents.
This is not quite divide-and-rule, but Key has thrown this political hot potato back into Maoridom's lap, while somehow at the same time delighting the Maori Party, National's support partner in Government.
Clever politics. There is a risk that some Pakeha will be miffed, but Key is punting that the great majority think this is a big fuss about not very much. If only he could say the same of the economy.