It may not be the done thing to go into bat for Gerry Brownlee, but a lot of the stick he has been getting as Earthquake Recovery Minister has been unwarranted.
Sure, Brownlee's patience can run too thin at times. Sure, there has been the occasional glitch in his running of his portfolios. Sure, it is blindingly obvious that you don't tell people something is blindingly obvious. And we won't dwell on his biggest political misjudgment - the misguided plan to let mining companies dig up national parks.
But when it comes to nous and instinct, Brownlee is the politician's politician. On Thursday he stepped up to the mark and delivered the goods when it really mattered.
He delivered in his handling of the biggest challenge to face any government since World War II in terms of sheer complexity and huge emotional turmoil.
He's right; putting together a package for the people most badly affected by Christchurch's earthquakes that is both feasible and fair was always going to be a nightmare of a job. Pleasing everyone would be an impossibility, as Armstrong notes - he continues:
Thursday's compensation package for homes in the uninhabitable "red zone" has received a mixed response from those affected. But it is impossible to satisfy everyone, and those unhappy with the Government's offer to buy properties at current rating value should realise this is at the most generous end of such compensation arrangements.
Throughout the nine months since the first quake, Brownlee and John Key have kept one thing at the forefront of their minds - something that many of Brownlee's critics have forgotten.
That is the way in which New Zealanders regard home ownership as not just a goal, but almost as a right.
It is born of the 19th century Utopian ethic that Jack was as good as his colonial master, and is seared deep into the national psyche.
For many people, their house is not only their home. It may be the only appreciating asset they own or will ever own.
The Christchurch earthquakes have brutally ripped away the trust people put in bricks, mortar and weatherboard.
No one - not even those on the far right - has questioned the application of the full powers and resources of the state to remedying matters and restoring personal security.
But that does not extend to a magic wand which could return things to what they were before last September.
It's hard to disagree with Armstrong's thinking here. Thursday's announcement may see some people lose some of the equity they had in their homes, but it is sufficiently generous to allow everyone to re-enter the housing market. Others may end up better off, but the fundamental principle behind the package seems to be fairness. That is commendable.
Armstrong then comments on the delays in reaching this point, bearing in mind that Thrusday's announcement was just the first stop on the journey - he writes:
Brownlee and Key were under no illusions that they were in anything but a race against time to come up with housing solutions before the stress and pressure people were soaking up began to be focused outwards.
Brownlee and Key lost that race - narrowly. Suddenly Brownlee found himself the whipping boy for refusing to say when he would disclose which parts of residential Christchurch would be off-limits for the rebuilding of houses.
Some of the criticism was justified. Brownlee could have been more diplomatic with those questioning the paucity of hard information.
But his reasons for staying mum were sound. His reluctance to set deadlines for the package was justified after the setbacks caused by the June 13 quakes.
The trouble was that those shakes produced a deeply pessimistic mood shift within Christchurch which exacerbated the feeling of helplessness.
The Government had to keep its nerve. It essentially had one shot at "getting it right" - the phrase the Prime Minister repeated endlessly on Thursday.
He's dead right once again. We were in Christchurch last week, and there had certainly been a mood change from our last visit in March, although our friend Tinman may beg to differ. People were very much on edge as the aftershocks continued. That had to impact on the government's considerations, and it manifested itself in a huge effort last weekend to tie up so many loose ends.
This is a lengthy piece by John Armstrong, but it's well worth a read in its entirety. We felt that Brownlee looked quite poorly on Thursday at the announcement; we reckon that the strain of the last nine months was showing. And that is unsurprising, for a number of reasons.
On Thursday, before the Christchurch announcement Tracy Watkins wrote a piece about Gerry Brownlee which is well worth a read on its own merits. She closed her piece thus:
As a local MP, for Ilam, he is not untouched by many of the same issues - his house was damaged in the first earthquake on September 4, but he has refused to talk about it.
Even now, as he prepares to deliver the news to people wanting to know whether their home stays or goes, he refuses to say which category his own home falls into, other than to say it is still standing.
"Look, I've just put all that on the back burner. There are a lot of other people that have got big issues. We don't and we have somewhere else to live. So I'm just not worrying about it at the present time."
That Brownlee is not trying to garner sympathy from his own plight is the mark of the man. Family members live close to Brownlee, and have told us that the state of his home is rather like a word made famous by Bob Parker. But Brownlee, as much as any MP in the House knows exactly what Christchurch people are going through, and he deserves the plaudits that John Armstrong has given him this morning. But he's still got an enormous challenge ahead of him.