The Government has turned to the wisdom of the East as the basis for its decision-making, in particular, following the precepts of those three Japanese monkeys who will see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.

The Prime Minister can see no evil in SkyCity's demand for a "top-up" for its renovations. And no one should be surprised at the request. Everyone who has ever done up a house knows the final bill will be considerably more than quoted and you'll have to go to the bank for the required spondulicks.

It's just that in this case, the bank is us. So, says the PM, a top-up is the least preferred option. Unlike other governments around the world at the moment, ours is going to pay the ransom.

Minister of Finance Bill English will speak no evil about Auckland's accommodation issues. He laughs off the claim by those hysterical fearmongers at the Salvation Army that the city needs 13,000 homes and fast. When you have whole families sleeping in cars because they have nowhere else to live, says English, it is not a crisis; it is a shortage.

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Finally, former police minister Anne Tolley and a "minister in a related portfolio" will hear no evil when it comes to police briefings about possibly dodgy colleagues. This raises so many questions, such as which related portfolio was it? We don't have ministers for obfuscation or sleaze - yet; those duties are shared around - so I'm guessing it was justice or one of those.

Before last year's election, the pair were told an MP was the subject of a police investigation, but they weren't told Mike Sabin's name. Tolley and the person we must call Minister X went into the election not knowing which one of their colleagues was a potential embarrassment to all of them.

How hard did they try to find out?

"If I guess will you tell me?"

"No, minister."

"It's Hekia, isn't it?"

"I'm not saying."

"Gerry?"

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"I've already said I'm not going to tell you."

"Is it Maggie Barry? Oh God, please let it be Maggie Barry."

"Not. Telling. You."

"Does it rhyme with Raybin?"

"Not saying."

Why would they not insist on being told the name of the MP under investigation? The alternative is that they asked not to be told, because to do so would have required them to act on the knowledge and that might have interfered with a smooth ride back to the Government benches, a priority that trumps all other considerations.


Sad news for we older romantics this week when Charles Manson, 80, called off his engagement to long-time girlfriend Afton Burton, 27. Manson is a prominent Californian prisoner and all-round bad person, although not a murderer. He never killed anyone himself - merely ordered members of his cult, the Family, to carry out nine fatal attacks of legendary savagery.

So when Manson sits his fiancee down and says, "Honey, I've heard something about you I've found rather disturbing ... " you know it's going to be interesting.

Manson learned she wanted to marry him so when he died she would be able to claim his body. She and her bit on the outside, Craig Hammond, planned to embalm the body and put it on display, touring it for viewing by paying customers. (A bit like Lenin's tomb, except Lenin was responsible for more deaths.)

I found all this quite uplifting. In a world that's morally bereft, where even the worst behaviour is rewarded and no offence is too heinous, it's good to know even Manson draws the line somewhere.