The government's popularity has started to slide for the first time since it came to power in 2008 and Prime Minister John Key's extended honeymoon is over.
Given its horrific start to a second term the damage could be a lot worse than it is, but the trend is set and it's going to be difficult to reverse.
In the last fortnight polls by TV1 and TV3 show National down four points. Two previous surveys delivered similar results.
That's a long way short of causing serious concern in the Beehive but what it does show is that National's first three years of coasting along on 50 per cent-plus ratings are history.
The government is doing what it said it would do before last year's election, and with the exception of the recent and disastrous education policy voters should have known what to expect.
It is partially selling four state-owned energy companies, which it said it would, it has delivered a zero budget, it is cutting costs wherever it can, it is reforming welfare and it is going to change labour laws.
These are all well-established policies. The government's problem is that implementing them has given opposition parties unprecedented opportunities to firmly align themselves with public opinion and launch effective attacks.
Key says that's to be expected because second terms are always harder than first terms, and to an extent he's right - they are, but the government's political management has been woefully lacking this year.
It hasn't had a firm grip on the ACC debacle, it didn't have any grip at all on the bigger classes policy which it was forced to scrap, and the deal with Sky City to build a convention centre is becoming a liability.
This situation doesn't look like improving. There are two inquiries into ACC under way and the auditor-general decided this week to investigate the tender process for the Sky City deal.
It is against this background that National dropped four points to 45.8 per cent in the latest TV3 poll and Labour was up four points to 33.2 per cent.
The Greens, holding the big gain they made in the last election, hit 14 per cent.
Crunch those numbers and, for the first time, a Labour/Greens coalition would have more seats in parliament than National on its own.
It isn't that simple when it comes to holding power because of the other minor parties, and the outcome of that poll was that the Maori Party would decide the outcome by joining either National or the Labour/Greens combo.
Polls are snapshots, not predictions, and the description of the TV3 poll as a "game changer" didn't consider how voters might react to the scenario it presented.
On those results, to hold a majority in parliament Labour would need the Greens, Mana, the Maori Party or NZ First if it survives.
National would go into the election asking voters whether they wanted a change of government which would give them a three-way or four-way coalition of centre-left and left-wing parties, with the Greens holding a huge influence and with Hone Harawira and Winston Peters in the mix.
For a lot of people, that could be a step too far even if they thought National didn't deserve a third term.