Medals theft may be inside job - News item.
And if it is, then we shouldn't be surprised. Inside jobs are quite the thing at the moment.
There's plenty of role models for the criminally inclined to emulate. So it is possible that whoever committed this crime against the nation was inspired by the example of others. And no ordinary others, either. No, Sir! Were talking top brass here, at least metaphorically.
Anyone at Waiouru contemplating the theft of national treasures need only have looked to the leaders of the land to find others whose behaviour offered both justification and vindication.
For it surely must be more than coincidence that Parliament is passing a bill which will steal our right to free speech in the very same week that other thieves have been roundly condemned for stealing the medals awarded to those who once defended it.
There's an awful symmetry here, an apposite meeting of motives that is too obvious and poignant to ignore.
Now you may say that's overstating the case. You may say Parliament is merely preventing people from 'buying' an election. You may say it's actually protecting us - albeit from ourselves - by limiting the opportunity for the well-heeled (and ill-intentioned) to bedazzle us feeble-minded proletarians.
And you may say it's no surprise that the media is only vexed about this because its greedy barons stand to lose much in the way of revenue.
Except they won't. Assuming the barons exist, they'll still get their ill-gotten gains. It's just that most will come from the government itself - and its many departments, bureaus and agencies, all presumably staffed with loyal publicists whose names were, as it happens, suggested by a Cabinet minister.
Because what our politicians are doing this week is not preventing people from buying an election. They're actually determining who can buy it. And they've very sensibly decided it should be them. While deftly wrapping a gag of red tape around everyone else's tongue, their bill specifically exempts parliamentarians from its provisions.
And fair enough too! Democracy is far too precious to squander on the common herd.
So what we'll have next year - that is to say, next month - is a classic example of asymmetric warfare. In the battle for hearts and minds, our politicians will be (although they won't wish to hear it) the US Army, lavishly funded, bristling with high-tech equipment and mounting the finest campaigns that money can buy. And we will be the suburban guerrillas, elusive, evasive, using devious tactics to make our presence felt.
Which we will do. Because laws are like patents. There's always a way around them. A change here, a tweak there and, bingo, you've got a loophole.
In a strange way, the restrictions our glorious leaders are imposing on their surly populace are really quite flattering. They demonstrate that the gummint's more scared of us than we are of them!
It's true! They're terrified. The big people are really just frightened little people, so haunted by the unthinkable thought that the great unwashed will be seduced by the tawdry blandishments of hucksters and ne'er do wells that they've built themselves a Maginot Line of regulations heedless of what happened to the last one.
Even stranger is the fact that it's all totally unnecessary. If the wee dears had any appreciation of history, they'd realise they don't need their futile fortifications.
In 1938, a year before the start of the war in which Charles Upham, Keith Elliot and others were awarded their (now stolen) decorations, there was a controversial election in New Zealand, one in which the weight of editorial opinion was massively against the government of the day.
And it wasn't only the editors who had a bone to pick with Michael Joseph Savage. A visit to the reference section of any library will quickly reveal pages of advertisements from medical associations and the like all railing against the newly-introduced public health system and predicting the most catastrophic consequences if it weren't immediately rejected.
Well, the gullible public read these messages with wide-eyed credulity, shuddering as they imagined the unspeakable horrors a reckless vote might cause, and, easily led, promptly returned the government with an increased majority.
The moral of the story: You can't sell people anything they don't want to buy. Astonishingly, 79 years and 11 months after that bitter campaign, our leaders still haven't learnt its lesson - or believe it doesn't apply to them.
So we're heading for our first Eastern Bloc campaign, only made possible because it's as easy to steal a national treasure from Parliament as it is from Waiouru's museum. In different ways, the security in each is equally lax. And the consequences equally sad.