How on Earth did that happen? If they haven't already conducted a post-mortem, National's strategists might well ask themselves how Labour managed to set the political agenda so easily this week on the crucial question of how to preserve jobs in the recession.
The Government insists it wasn't caught napping. If that is the case, it still gave a pretty good impression of being caught off-guard by Phil Goff's long-planned offensive.
The Government also insists it is relaxed about the Labour leader focusing on the jobs question. If so, why was there such a scramble to gather information showing it is still full steam ahead when it comes to finding initiatives to help people keep their job or find a new one if they need to?
Perhaps for the first time since becoming Labour's leader, Goff finally used all his skills as a politician of long experience on something of real substance, rather than getting sidetracked by the comparatively trivial.
Goff needed to get back on track after his less-than-glorious role in the messy Richard Worth affair. Still flush with Labour's triumph in Mt Albert, he stayed relentlessly on message this week as he sought to expose the widening gap between the rising tide of jobless and the seemingly diminishing returns in the way of credible job-saving initiatives in the aftermath of February's Job Summit.
We're wondering whether Armstrong wtached and listened to a different iteration of Parliament this week. Sure, Goff questioned John Key over unemployment, but Key gave as good as he got, and Goff's credibility took a hit on Thursday when Phil Heatley dredged up comments Goff had made in the past directly supporting National's state house buy-back proposals.
As we saw this week, the target was not John Key but Lockwood Smith. Trevor Mallard had a very public dummy-spit on Tuesday, and Question Time for the rest of the week was loaded with snide comments from the likes of David Parker, David Cunliffe, Darren Hughes and Mallard himself about the Speaker's even-handedness. If it was Labour's plan to single-handely attack John Key, we would suggest that they made a spectacular mess of it with all the "white noise" around Mr Speaker. And surely Labour is the last party which should be moaning about the neutrality of the Speaker - how quickly they forget!