In the political game, they call it optics, it’s the way things look. At the moment the government's optics stink. They are running the very real risk of being bogged down in a semi-permanent circus that rivals pantomime.
You're not really sure whether to laugh or cry. We have the Sroubek drama, which is refusing to go away, and looks increasingly disastrous both for the government, their governance, and the Minister and his performance.
Then we have the one point one million trees fiasco in which we have an almost comedic scenario whereby we bought the trees, but no one asked about the suitability of the land.
Then we have the really calamitous Kiwibuild, which has now not only been shown to be a scam, but a potentially multi-billion dollar sale in which the shop is full of houses and the sale sign is out, but there are no punters.
Add all those things together and you have an ongoing political picture of a government that looks inept, out of their depth, and inexperienced.
Optics count. Optics, good optics builds trust,faith and support. Optics by themselves don't destroy or make a government, the fundamentals do.
The fundamentals can build into the optics, that's why John Key got away with so much. You build political capital, when things go bad you get to burn it. The more you have, the more you can burn, and still end up on the right side of history.
This government has very little if any political capital, it's too soon they haven't done much of real substance. Announcing hundreds of inquiries isn't doing stuff, it's just creating jobs for mates.
What is real for the government are the economics. One percent growth in the last quarter, a very large surplus and last week's job numbers at three point nine percent, that’s the stuff that voters respond to. It's real, it affects lives, it builds a mood.
But in between those events, a good government is looking to build trust through action, to create a subconscious effect in peoples minds that this is a group that’s in charge, and on top of proceedings.
Nothing sadly at the moment could be further from the truth. We have questions that need correcting, sacked Ministers for ineptitude and violence, almost a million trees gone, a crook given residency with no explanation, and not even an hour given to the decision and a report not read, ideology via housing that is teetering, as barely 300 turn up to buy.
These things, cumulatively, stick to a rep and if not dealt to, can sink you.
We all like to think we are run by, surrounded by, deal with people of a half decent disposition and talent. When we are not we are embarrassed, we get frustrated and eventually angry.
That is where we are at right now.