When it comes to delivering bad news about the fauna and flora of the nation, the same advice applies as to tramping near fairy tern nesting sites: tread with meticulous care.
Week in politics
Why has National remained so incredibly popular for so long despite suffering continuing calamities, embarrassments and unwanted distractions, many of them self-inflicted?
When it comes to dealing with Labour's enemies - or as he would prefer to say - dealing to them, Clayton Cosgrove displays all the sympathy and mercy of a knuckleduster-carrying Rottweiler.
What on earth does the management at Mighty River Power think it was doing, with its blanket refusal to answer questions posed by the very parliamentary committee to which those running the power generator are supposedly accountable?
Although it takes some swallowing, the prime minister's insistence there was no plan B had the Supreme Court blocked the part-sale of Mighty River Power has to be taken at face value.
Mr Fix-it has become Mr Fudge-it. It was National's good fortune this week that the Minister of Economic Development also happens to be National's unofficial Minister of Damage Control.
The ratings for TVNZ's Seven Sharp may be going through the floor with (older) viewers finding little sustenance in the show's anaemic diet which mixes social media-heavy with current affairs lite.
The story goes something like this: when the prime minister called for a volunteer to bring more than a semblance of order to the chaos flowing from the introduction of a new payroll system for the country's schools, Steven Joyce looked around the room, saw who was there and realised it was John Key's way of telling him to put up his hand for the job.
National's opponents beware.
Winston Peters did it by combining oratory with outrage while flashing his disarmingly seductive smile and exploiting the elderly's nostalgia for a New Zealand that never was.
Will the staunch critics of MMP finally be shown to have been right all along? Does their long-held assertion that the policy compromises flowing from a proportional voting system work against the long-term national interest have some basis after all?
Now that David Shearer no longer has to worry about a knife being plunged into his back - at least not for a while - he needs to tackle another longer-running attempted putsch of a very different but equally serious kind.
For the first time in a long time, Labour has come up with something radical on the policy front which may grab the public's attention, and which National cannot really get away with copying.
David Lange could certainly do it. He could turn it on and off like a tap.
After nigh on three decades of constant and unflinching devotion to free-market economic orthodoxy, the Treasury seems to be opening the door to fresh thinking, albeit only slightly.
The $500,000 carrot to keep Doug Heffernan at the helm of Mighty River Power until the company's partial privatisation is done and dusted is a reminder of how the Government's asset sales programme just keeps on throwing up curly questions for National.
Opinion: The 440-page report of the inquiry into the Pike River mine disaster is an exemplary piece of work - thorough, comprehensive, rigorous and surely one of the most hard-hitting produced by a royal commission.
Casting himself as some kind of self- anointed Harbinger of Economic Gloom and Doom, Winston Peters this week warned it was now only a question of time before New Zealand's currency reached dollar-for- dollar parity with its American equivalent.
A hands-off policy might avoid some problems, but it can create others ... and it won't work if a spy agency goes feral. It illustrated how keen John Key was to put plenty of distance between him and the Government Communications Security Bureau.
This was the week the emperor found himself with no clothes, new or otherwise; this was the week John Key was revealed to be human after all; this was the week his Government looked distinctly ordinary.