The politicians just don't seem to get it. On the one hand the Parliamentary Service issues a brave report curbing overseas travel perks and travel inside New Zealand and travel for spouses and families.

It is this kind of perk that riles an electorate that never ceases to be amazed at the politicians' eternal ability to preserve privileges and perks.

But then we find, on the other hand, this very report also recommends a general pay rise of 10 per cent for MPs. So they give on the one hand and take with the other.

Matt McCarten, who represents the Unite union with a burning sense of social justice, is appalled. McCarten saw New Zealanders vomiting into their Weet-Bix at the news.

McCarten says most New Zealanders are struggling. Most don't get perks.

Most don't get allowances. Indeed, most New Zealanders get up in the grey dawn and, if they live in Auckland, they travel miles in the dark through heavy traffic, work long hours and make their way home again at the end of the day, all of it for low wages by the standards of our trading partners.

On top of that they are facing rises in petrol prices and the new and various and as yet unknown costs of the ETS.

But we always have to remember that we need high-calibre people prepared to enter Parliament. We want to see issues being debated and decided by people with big hearts and clever minds.

Such people who would earn much more in the private sector need to be paid for the value they bring.

And if you're being thumped in the House every day and beaten up in the papers and on radio talkback and on television news every day of the week, there has got to be something in it for them.

VIVIEN THOMAS, OR Vivien Harrison as she is now, wants the Crewe double murder case re-opened.

Harrison lives in Australia, well away from this country where she knew such pain and bewilderment.

But one old scar rankles with her. She is named in so many official documents as being the woman most likely to have fed the baby, Rochelle, while her parents lay dead.

Vivien denied it then and she denies it 40 years on. And she wants her name cleared. Things like this hang round with people. Things like this burn themselves upon the souls of the innocent.

Her former husband, Arthur Thomas, sweet, pleasant, friendly Arthur, an innocent man, copped it for the murders and did nine long and painful years inside.

Last time I saw Arthur he invited me up in his microlight. Arthur got into microlights in a big way. We never got round to it in the end.

But I think I agree with the Crewe murder investigator and writer Pat Booth that it is too long ago and there is no great purpose in relitigating the whole massive affair again.

And Pat's theory of the deaths, which I read this week, seems to me - looking back through all the perplexing years - as the most reasonable of any offered. Pat believes it was murder-suicide. The Crewes argued.

Harvey punched Jeanette so hard he broke a bone in her face and knocked out teeth. Later, as he sat by the fire she shot him in the head. Then Jeanette and her father, Len Demler, dumped his body in the river while she went home and nursed herself and the baby.

But realising she was badly hurt and facing a murder trial, she then shot herself. Demler put her in the river too. And Demler thought he would never have to say a thing because Arthur Thomas could never be convicted because he hadn't done the crime.

Having said that, Demler was a dark and dour and bleak-looking type. Demler knew something, all right. And he never helped in the search. For a long time he was the chief suspect.

But I feel for Vivien. Always did. Her time in New Zealand was largely one of hell.

A WORD OF defence for one of the funniest and most decent fellows I've come to know a bit in recent years, David Fane. I was not at the Radio Roast, or whatever that was.

But David seems to have got himself into terrible trouble there. You can't be saying Hitler was right about the Jews. Hitler was far from right. He was as evil as few others in history. And you can't diss people with HIV.

But there is humour in shock. The crowd apparently loved him. The organisers kept him 'til last on the night because they knew he would be the most outrageous.

Humour, if I may say so, is a funny thing. It can work splendidly on the night. A few days later in newsprint, it most definitely does not.

It can look appalling. I have been through the fire of this myself. I see David frequently at the radio station. He is warm, friendly and always funny. He has a rare subtlety of mind which he brings to his wit.

The subtlety of his wit is as funny as the wit itself. By that I mean his ability to clothe an idea. With the slightest look and gesture he can communicate absurdity. I rate him as one of the funniest men I've seen in NZ in years.

And, in any case, David may have started his career at the extreme end of the humour market.

But if you want to work the mainstream, as you have to in New Zealand in order to make a living, the lesson of the week is that you cannot expose yourself so openly on the flank that when extreme stuff gets into print it is going, in the cold light of day, to look ghastly.

THE GULF. I see that a new monster, a giant skimmer, has appeared there. It is a Korean-built super tanker, three football fields long.

But the clever Taiwanese owner, Mr Nobu Su, the moment he saw the oil spill, ordered 12 giant vents built in the bow of the ship. Very nimble.

Now the ship can suck 80 million litres of oil-polluted water a day and he has sent it to a grateful BP. Mr Su has called the ship "A Whale". Not "The Whale", notice. Very odd.

The ship separates the oil from the water and puts the water back. The skimmer is the new hope in a region where there has not been a lot of it lately.