OPINION: Is Gerry Brownlee's blunder in bypassing airport security confirmation that National has succumbed to second term-itis?
That's how long it takes for Government's to believe they are bullet proof and ministers to develop a sense of entitlement.
Brownlee was genuinely contrite this afternoon and with good reason. He must have skated very close to losing his job.
By Brownlee's own admission, it is considered such a significant breach that airline officials would normally require the entire plane to disembark and go through the boarding process again.
Brownlee says he was in a hurry. So are most people these days - government ministers are nothing special in that respect. And as an excuse it seems pretty lame, given that whether he was in a hurry or not should have made no difference to what time the plane took off.
Brownlee deserves full marks for offering the prime minister his resignation.
But the incident seems like a classic case of "don't you know who I am" disease - even the offer to resign and subsequent confession seems to have sparked by someone dobbing Brownlee into a major media organisation.
It is no excuse that an aviation security official waved Brownlee through. When put on the spot by a senior government minister and his bevy of officials most low level officials would do the same. Brownlee should never have put that official in such a positionin the first place.
It would be deeply unjust if the official concerned faced disciplinary action when Brownlee himself has been let off with a warning by his own boss, Prime Minister John Key.