If National is as hell-bent on radical welfare reform as its critics insist it is, then it would surely overhaul the flawed child support scheme with the same gusto that this week saw it offer free long-acting, reversible contraception to mothers on benefits and their teenage daughters.
Make no mistake. Prime Minister John Key will dump the Hon John Archibald Banks QSO CNZM from his ministry if circumstances so dictate.
With work now starting on the blueprint for the first batch of "charter" schools, the scene would seem to have been set for a real ding-dong battle as opponents try to mobilise the only weapon they have to halt or at least delay the concept becoming reality - public opinion.
The word "reform" drips readily off the tongues of politicians. As long as, that is, the said reform applies to others and not themselves. It is a very different matter when political parties' self-interest is at stake.
The word "reform" drips readily off the tongues of politicians.
Labour will claim both moral and tactical victories over National after this week's skirmishing over paid parental leave, and with some justification.
If next month's Budget likely features even more belt-tightening than earlier expected, there is one taxpayer-funded agency whose funding could surely go under the knife.
Is there any Auckland-based National MP who has not been lobbied, cajoled or inveigled into helping Bronwyn Pullar in her various insurance and ACC claims?
Forget any distinction between resigning and being sacked. Had Nick Smith not fallen on his sword yesterday, one would have fallen on him fairly promptly.
Scanning the packed upstairs function room in Wellington's Wellesley Hotel on Thursday morning, a newspaper photographer with long experience of the habits of politicians summed up what was going on with a pithy observation: this was not your typical Labour Party audience.
It would be easy to dismiss the campaign being spearheaded by Grey Power and the Council of Trade Unions for a referendum to halt National's partial state-asset-sales programme as the politics of gesture that will achieve nothing.
It is surely tempting fate to say it, but a rather different, more mellow and more constructive Winston Peters now seems to inhabit the parliamentary complex.
The pattern is familiar by now. But that does not make it any easier for those affected. Or the process any less cynical.
The High Court's shock blocking of the sale of the Crafar farms to a Chinese conglomerate has raised more questions than there are currently answers.
When the most pressing items before the House include racecourse safety, the long-term state of the balance of payments and David Cunliffe's new beard, you know it could be a dreary afternoon.
So it's goodbye Mr Smile and Wave, and hello Mr Grumpy. Or so the Prime Minister's critics would have you believe.
National's "mixed ownership model" - the innocuous-sounding vehicle tasked with making the party's unpopular privatisation agenda more appetising - paradoxically may yet end up making the partial sell-offs of state corporations even less palatable to voters.
Some elements on the left of the political spectrum have long cried wolf about National supposedly having a secret agenda, especially when it comes to privatisation.
New Zealand Herald political columnist John Armstrong lays out the reasons for National's victory in the general election.
Has John Key completely lost the plot? The Prime Minister's statement yesterday that National's success in cutting the crime rate has given police spare time to pursue his complaint about the secret taping of his conversation with John Banks sounds astonishingly naive, but is also deeply disturbing.