It's a fine art keeping the country content.
While the past two pandemic years have been anything but picture-perfect, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been a portrait of popularity.
But voters are now drawing a line, with support for Labour falling 6.1 points to 38.2 percent in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, behind National which is up 9.2 points to 40.5 percent.
"These results reflect what has been a really hard time," Ardern told Newshub.
Ardern saw this coming as 2022 has posed a deluge of disaster: the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak, the cost of living crisis and war in Ukraine are taking their toll on her.
"It has been a really difficult period for New Zealand and then of course, by default, that makes it a difficult period to govern through," Ardern said.
It's also taking a toll on Ardern's popularity, which is intrinsically tied to her party's success.
Ardern's preferred Prime Minister rating has dropped to 36.6 percent, down seven points, representing a bigger plunge than her party Labour's vote.
National leader Christopher Luxon is gaining. He's up 6.1 points to 23.9 percent. It's still nowhere near Ardern but he's now the most popular leader National's had since Sir Bill English.
ACT leader David Seymour is the only other politician properly registering, though he's tumbled down 2.9 points to 5.1 percent.
"There will be from time to time tough decisions that need to be made and if that means that we take a bit of a hit in the numbers, so long as we stand by all of the decisions we've made - and we do - then that's a price we're willing to pay," Ardern said.
As Ardern pays the popularity price, Luxon has his eyes fixed on the Prime Ministerial prize.
"I think someone coming with my experience and coming from outside the system, is frankly a good thing," Luxon told Newshub.
But he's going to need mates to cross the line.
There is a concern for the centre-right, because even though National is polling the highest, they can't form a Government on Newshub's numbers, and the Māori Party has told Newshub it will not work with ACT.
"No, because ACT has shown that they are not prepared to have an adult and mature conversation about what a Titiriti-centric Aotearoa looks like," co-leader Rawiri Waititi told Newshub.
It's a tiny bit of good news for Labour, then, and the Prime Minister is promising she's up for round three. She will definitely run in 2023.
"I'm not going anywhere."
That of course isn't up to her. It's up to you - the voters.
The Newshub-Reid Research poll was conducted between 18 April – 27 April 2022 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.