The wheels are falling off National's "no wurries mate" media policy.
That was revealed in John Key's bizarre accusation in Parliament this week claiming New Zealand On Air had leaked material about Melissa Lee.
The media sector marks an intersection between business, politics and culture.
The Lee incident is just another breakdown amid a massive pile-up over the Maori TV bid for free-to-air rights to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Occasionally - like in the past two weeks when sports and race were added to the mix - the sector can develop into a Spaghetti Junction of conflicting interests.
Forget the rugby fiasco for a minute. Lee being forced to hand back $80,000 was embarrassing.
Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman was campaign manager for the TV producer MP in the ill-fated Mt Albert byelection campaign.
NZ On Air accepted she made a genuine mistake. Yet Key took bizarre advice and claimed in Parliament that the Government funding agency had leaked material to Labour.
NZ On Air is at the centre of National's half-hearted broadcasting policy. It delivers National's main plank of transparent taxpayer funding, overseeing what is handed out to the private sector.
Then came the Maori TV bid backed with public money from Te Puni Kokiri.
Let's not get mired in who said what and when. Two years out from the world cup there was no co-ordinated view on the role of public broadcasters TVNZ and Maori TV on the key issue of free-to-air rights.
Maori TV - which was set up as part of a Treaty of Waitangi obligation to promote the Maori language - has an increasingly passionate wish to wrap Maori content around commercial content.
It seems to have an exclusive relationship with Te Puni Kokiri, which is run by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.
Inevitably Maori TV has a growing relationship with the Maori Party and the two acted in unison over the rights row.
The tiny broadcasting portfolio is split between three ministers - Georgina te Heuheu for Maori TV, Jonathan Coleman and Stephen Joyce for communications.
Coleman's main role appears to be keeping his head down.
Broadcasting is a very low priority for Government ministers.
But as the collision this week showed, it can throw up some terrible obstacles and you need to keep your eye on the road.
The Maori TV Rugby World Cup row during the radio ratings survey period led to an inevitable stink between Newstalk ZB and RadioLive.
Newstalk ZB would not give Maori TV an assurance on host Mike Hosking having a positive editorial line about Maori TV's position and missed out on an interview with its chief executive, Jim Mather.
When Maori TV asked Marcus Lush's producer Bridget Burke for the editorial line, she described the treatment of the Maori bid as "scandalous", Maori TV communications boss Sonya Haggie said.
Newstalk ZB spokesman Dallas Gurney said Newstalk would promise only that it would be a fair and accurate interview and that RadioLive's Willie Jackson had helped secure an interview for that station.
But RadioLive programme director Mitch Harris insists there was no such call. Jackson has totally dismissed the Newstalk claims.
Harris insists that no promises were made by Jackson or anybody else.
If Newstalk ZB needed to ask whyMaori TV would not want to talk to it, listen to Hosking's diatribe on Wednesday morning.
RadioLive insists it had problems arranging an interview through Haggie and used Jackson's contact number to reach Mather direct.
Certainly Hosking's comments on Wednesday had an overbearing racial edge and sound a bit like throwing a wobbly because he missed out.
But the row - tinged with radio ratings rivalry - does raise questions about the power of Government agency PR people to select friendly media.
Can a public body in the middle of a controversy like Maori TV offer access to a chief executive on the basis of positive coverage?
That is what Newstalk says happened.
Haggie - who has a reputation as a vociferous gatekeeper to Mather - denied she had used the word "positive".
Initially Mather was only to be on Morning Report, later it was agreed to go on Lush's show.
She had called to ask Newstalk's position again. Newstalk had said it was not up to her to decide whom Mather spoke to based on their position.
"I just don't agree,"she said.
Newstalk ZB is half-owned by APN News & Media, the publisher of the Herald.
Willie Jackson is itching to be back on the box with his new show on Maori Television. "I'd like to be covering the World Cup story," says the broadcaster whose show Eye To Eye was scrapped by TVNZ this year.
Jackson has talked with Maori TV off and on about the show for several months - ever since TVNZ pulled the plug on Eye To Eye.
He said that as a contrast to Eye To Eye, the Maori TV programme would feature him as the sole host and he was looking forward to working with Carol Hirschfeld, who took over recently as programming director at Maori TV and who will be executive producer.
The as-yet-unnamed programme will be funded from Maori TV's baseline funding.
Hirschfeld said that the producer for the show was away at the moment.
She dismissed a suggestion made to this column that her partner - Sunday Star-Times columnist Finlay Macdonald - had been appointed to work on the Willie Jackson show. It was too early to decide such matters and she was awaiting the return of the show's producer.
Hirschfeld said if "Fin" was to be part of the show it would involve a process at Maori Television. There was a lot of talent at Maori TV, she noted.
Herald online readers and blogging site Kiwblog railed against TVNZ's Breakfast show putting "pyschic" Deb Webber in touch with the family of Aisling Symes.
Even if you agree with TVNZ's claim that the Breakfast show staffer was only "being human", it illustrates confusion in the programme produced by the news division between reality TV and reality.
Paul Henry's unsceptical showbiz interview about the star of the TVNZ series Sensing Murder was a marked contrast to his lampooning a guest with facial hair.
Henry is defending his interview, which led to TVNZ approaching a friend of the family and a family member approaching Webber.
Describing Webber as "a real-life ghost whisperer", he hardly raised any of the scepticism - widespread and strongly held by scientists - about the veracity of these people who claim to talk with the dead.
It was a magazine-style entertainment interview, Henry said.
"You put a psychic on air and you get a huge amount of interest from people who believe in them and those who do not," Henry said. "I was not backing her, I was talking to her the way most people are interested in her."
But I bet that if Mark Sainsbury interviewed Webber he would have kept some distance between TVNZ and what many believe is showbusiness hokum.
The previous week Henry had interviewed another psychic, Lisa Williams, who claimed to have talked to the spirit of Princess Diana - and that interview was only marginally more sceptical.
Henry does not have to rule it out, but he shouldn't pin the credibility of a news and current affairs division to the idea that it is true.
SENSING COMMON SENSE
"A show like this cannot have two and a half hours of hard interviews," Henry said. But the question is whether a broadcaster should remove his sceptical distance from an interviewee.
TVNZ's soft coverage of psychics is frequently linked to Sensing Murder, which returns to screens next year.
TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said that editorially TVNZ news and current affairs does not hold any position on psychics. Though with Breakfast that is hard to believe.
TVNZ pointed to other instances where it had questioned the role of psychics, including a programme critical of Sensing Murder on its digital TV show Media7, that featured Eating Media Lunch star Jeremy Wells.
The wheels are falling off National's "no wurries mate" media policy.