The Greens and National have been competing for column inches this week, with the former being dogged by questions of instability, and the latter raising questions of whether its leader will ever get his foot out of his mouth.
National leader Christopher Luxon has had a rough couple of months, making three key and avoidable mistakes.
The first, was not clearly articulating his position on abortion in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the US. New Zealand's Parliament is a place where many politicians hold a faith (and it looks like this will continue for some time).
When it comes to conscience votes, some MPs cast votes in line with their religious beliefs; other MPs allow their faith and their vote to diverge. Labour MP Aupito William Sio did this during the debate on abortion in the last Parliament.
His speech is a moving testament to the tension between private faith and public duty and an interesting meditation on the separation of church and state in the 21st century, and probably one of the best speeches delivered on a conscience vote in recent memory.
Luxon's abortion commitment comes from a similar place (although one can't help but thinking the real reason is electoral). It is quite possible to personally disagree with something, whilst using one's power as a legislator to protect that very thing.
Indeed, it was put quite well a few days after the kerfuffle when it was said that people should be able to "freely hold their own beliefs, be they religious or otherwise", but "no-one's religious belief should impose on another the ability or inability to access healthcare or make decisions over their own bodies".
The problem is that the person who made those remarks was not Christopher Luxon, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, speaking to students in Madrid.
Likewise, Luxon calling businesses "soft", likewise his Hawaii gaffe - why couldn't he have used any other line in his speech? Why couldn't he have been more honest about where he was holidaying? No one begrudges a busy leader a holiday - and an overseas holiday too. Overseas trips give leaders a well-deserved opportunity to be anonymous.
Luxon's leadership is not terminal - far from it, but Nicola Willis' star turn at his gruelling morning media round in the last week of the recess might cause some caucus members to consider whether National's leadership ticket is in the right order.
Willis made effortless what Luxon finds somewhat effortful. Heading into his party conference in Christchurch next week, Luxon - who has been busy performance-managing the performance of his own MPs - might want to consider his own performance.
He makes far too many unforced errors. He's getting away with it now, but next year he'll be in the thick of an election campaign - a far less forgiving environment.
Likewise the Greens.
Criticism of the party's highly democratic structure is misplaced.
The democratic ethos that binds the party together more than any constitution would explode into fits of instability were any effort made to seriously curtail the power of members and delegates in the name of stability. The Greens, like many other parties, have to grapple with the fact that what makes the party successful can also make it weak.
If the party and its various factions are led well, there is nothing inherently unstable about the Greens' relatively horizontal structure. The problem now is that there is clearly a strong disagreement over the party's direction - with some prominent members explicitly critical of even being in government.
This, wedded to the fact no-one really seems to know what they want to do about it, has created a perfect storm of instability and indecision.
Party leaders (and with the Greens' horizontal structure, there are many of these) need to quickly reflect on whether the current instability is worth anything that might be gained from a change in leadership. The fact no one has actually put their hand up, suggests this thinking had not been done before Shaw's demise on Saturday.
The Party has done a good job so far of not torching itself in the process of leadership transition. Any party must consider the relationship between caucus, party members, and voters during a leadership change.
While the Greens are currently agonising over the relationship between caucus and members, not a lot of thought has gone into the relationship between these two wings of the party and the 200,000 odd people who voted for it at the last election.
There's no right answer to a leadership change; a more ideologically left-wing tilt might be worth a sacrifice in vote share (the Greens could find themselves more powerful in the next government on a smaller share of the vote if Labour's vote also declines) if it placates members, but the party needs to make any decision with its eyes open and with knowledge of the trade-offs.
Contenders' rather haphazard (non) campaigns suggest this thinking wasn't done before the spill was triggered on Saturday.
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