I'm pleased that National has backed away from its silly attempt to attack the quality of education that people can get at New Zealand schools.
It's one of a number of backdowns that National has done since it won power in 2008. Mining on protected conservation land is the other big one.
There is a bit of a pattern. When National steps outside the zone is has created as a pragmatic, moderate party, "de-toxified" from the 1990s Nasty Party image it cultivated, it tends to get smacked around by the public -- and when it gets smacked around, it backs off.
This is savvy politics in one sense, but it stores up problems for National in the longer run.
It's savvy because it lets them pretend they are "listening". That is rubbish of course. National thought it could get away with cutting $170m out of schools and putting some ($60m) of it back into "quality". It was a cut to front line education services that they tried to hoodwink the public into accepting with bollocks about a trade off. They arrogantly assumed they'd get away with it.
They didn't "listen" to change their mind: they got punched on the nose by the public for trying to attack the quality of the biggest and most important public service there is. National will be held to account for this exposure of their hard edged agenda to sack the State from now until election day.
There is another downside: National politicians have to be careful because a government that can be pushed around too easily loses the respect of voters. (Voters also lose respect for a government that is too tough: that's one of the challenging balancing acts politicians face.)
I don't anticipate seeing many more backdowns. National will be more careful from now on to not push outside the boundaries of the mandate. Mandates are complex things. Theirs is very narrow. Aside, arguably, from asset sales, they have to stay where they have positioned themselves: bang in the centre.
Which leaves you a final question to ponder on.
What's the point of a government that invests all of its political energies in winning elections on the premise of doing nearly nothing?