Who would have thought that so many different groups of public sector workers would have discovered at roughly the same time that they have been underpaid and under-resourced, and for such a long time?
No one doubts that teachers of different kinds and at different levels, and health care professionals across the sector, as well as a range of other public servants, have all been under-valued over a long period.
But what is surprising is that they stayed silent about their plight for so long.
Being underpaid - that is, being paid less than one is worth - does not, after all, happen in the blink of an eye.
It is necessarily something that develops over a period - and something that cannot happen without the victims being aware that it is happening.
So how is it that it has only now become an issue?
Why were we not made aware of complaints and protests, of strikes, and difficulties of recruitment and people leaving the profession, over the decade or more during which the underpayment phenomenon was gathering force?
And how is it that those who created the growing crisis across the board, those who held the purse strings at the crucial time, those who - in government - boasted of how well they were managing the public finances, got away with it and were unchallenged?
Why is it only now, now that the situation has crystallised and become entrenched, that government is under pressure to take urgent action?
Why, when the underpayment issue took years to develop, has it only now been discovered and why do the efforts to remedy it suddenly have to be completed overnight?
Bryan Gould: Glamming up fast food does not hide its stark realities
Definite pass mark for this Wellbeing Budget
One is tempted to answer these questions with a shrug of the shoulders and to marvel at how successful has been a political strategy adopted by one of our two major parties. National, when in government, quite deliberately decided to hold down wages and restrict resources in the public sector.
They gained, as a result, plaudits for managing their finances prudently, and for producing a government surplus, and have then been able to sit back and watch while their successors have had to find the funds to make good the shortfalls that have arisen, and have copped brickbats from the public sector work force when they have struggled to do so immediately and all at once.
Are the public servants themselves unaware of how they have been manipulated, as though they were pawns in a game of chess? Or are they willingly complicit?
Did they deliberately forbear from protest and recognise that, as a right-wing government saved money at their expense, any protests would fall on deaf ears, and calculate opportunistically that the time to make a fuss would be to wait until a government more sympathetic to their cause gained power?
Do they imagine that striking (literally) while the iron is hot - that is, when a government committed to the public sector is in office - is at all likely to resolve their problems in the long term?
Or will it not increase the chances of the return of an unsympathetic government that will launch the same damaging cycle of public sector cuts and underpaid public servants all over again?
No one doubts the justice of their cause. But the resolution of the endemic problem of under-resourcing should not solely lie at the door of a government that had no responsibility for creating the problem in the first place.
That task must be undertaken by both today's government and workers working together and showing some understanding of how and why it came about, and making a joint and cooperative effort to agree on a course of action that will produce - not a rabbit out of a hat - but a real solution that will last.
Such a solution depends on a genuine commitment to the concept of public service - and that, surely, is something that both parties can agree on.
Bryan Gould is an ex-British MP and Waikato University vice-chancellor