It rarely takes long for ministers in a new government to discover the handy milliner in the Beehive.

That hat shop provides all manner of handy headwear to allow ministers to sidestep questions they do not want to answer or keep information away from the gaze of the Opposition – and the public.

Ministers are open to the Official Information Act and the questions of the Opposition on anything they say or do in their capacity as a minister, but they are immune from probing if they had a different hat on.

Prime Ministers have even more hats at their