Part of the Government's pitch to the "team of 5 million" over its Covid response is that not a lot of people died.
We have the lowest death rate from Covid in the OECD.
And with that fact dispatched, we are all supposed to be deeply grateful, and for a while some were, but the trick is now old, and the game is slowly but surely up.
Part of the trick also involved assumption; we don't actually know how many would've died if we had approached this differently.
If we had partially opened the border and, say, let more New Zealanders return instead of the cruelty of MIQ, how many cases would we have had, and how many of those cases would have died?
We don't know, we will never know, but the Government didn't let that stop the relentless spin.
What I think is becoming more and more clear to more and more of us, is that the price we are now paying is too high.
It was always going to be too high, the same way the virus in whatever variant form was always going to swarm the country.
The simplicity of the original trick, i.e. close the country off, was only ever going to be effective until enough people woke up and/or the variant got to a point where borders were no longer the issue, transmission was.
This past week we have heard yet again from hospitality, from retail, from the tourism industry.
Their plight and subsequent calls for help are increasingly desperate.
They now face the double whammy of the virus as well as the fear.
Another of the tricks being played to limited appeal is the myth the PM keeps reminding us that under the red light life is normal.
It isn't of course, but that has never stopped the Government or the PM. What they say, and what actually happens, have never really needed to be the same thing as long as enough of us remained hypnotised.
Life is nothing like normal if you're going under, if half your staff can't turn up because they are isolating, if no one is ordering dinner or travelling to your place because they are afraid to head to their own letterbox.
The fear part of this I am torn on. Is it the Government's fault for scaring us to death? Or is it our fault for getting sucked into it? Part of me believes you choose your emotions and reactions, but equally a government has enormous power over certain people's outlooks ... so let's share the blame shall we, we both carry the can for it.
But that still doesn't help the people going bust.
What I can't understand is just how it is that the Government can rule over us in an omnipresent fashion for two years, the relentless instructions and orders and hectoring, the "team of 5 million", the teddies in the window, the myriad programmes filled with cash to help us survive the Covid onslaught, and yet when it does actually arrive in vast numbers they're nowhere to be seen.
How is tourism, a $17 billion industry, supposed to survive in a world that in many parts is post-Covid, and yet we aren't open till October... and even then the tourists, not that there will be any, have to self-isolate?
The headline last week that broke my heart suggested our entire international tourism industry is "on the brink of collapse".
How have we allowed that to happen? And why is that okay as long as we have the lowest death rate in the OECD?
Why is the Covid death rate so much more important than any other death rate?
Just how many businesses get to go to the wall before it starts to get counter-balanced against a death rate?
How many cancer cases?
In Australia between March 2020 and January this year, there were 2639 deaths linked to Covid, a number many defenders of Jacinda Ardern would argue proves we are the better of the two responders. In the same period, there were 32,000 deaths from heart disease and there was not a lot of coverage and fear around those.
An absent government, which is what this looks like, at a time of not only a pandemic but increasing worry over house prices, inflation, rising interest rates and social unrest, is a government in serious trouble, if not on its way out.