Happy birthday John Hartman – 60 today.
Happy birthday Charley Pride – 82 today.
One of the clauses in the employment contracts our staff signs deals with confidentiality.
It’s a standard clause which most private businesses require of their staff.
That requirement is even more important in the public service so I am pleased the States Services Commissioner has been asked to investigate leaks of cabinet papers about mining on conservation land and changes to the state sector:
Commissioner Mr Rennie said the unauthorised release of Government information has the potential to seriously undermine trust in the Public Service.
The government ought to consult its ministries when developing policy.
But if Ministers can’t trust staff to maintain confidentiality during policy development they are going to be much less willing to consult and much less open when they do.
That is not good for government or democracy.
The Public Service Association won’t be happy that the number of number of full-time equivalent staff positions in the core government administration has fallen 1,480 or 3.8% over the 2009 year (from 38,859 to 37,379).
But the general public is unlikely to be concerned.
That doesn’t mean that bureaucrats don’t do important and necessary work. But the steep increase in the core government administration from 1999 to 2008 was unsustainable.
The public service became bloated and the fat needs to be cut out of the system – not so deeply that it gets to the muscle, just deep enough to give front line staff the support they need without dragging down the economy.
Less fat and more muscle in the public service will be better for it and the country.
This week’s Dominion Post political quiz was longer and harder. It had five extra questions and I got four answers wrong: 11/15.
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples was moved to give Labour a lesson on MMP government:
“In Parliament today, Labour MPs asked why I, as Associate Minister of Corrections, was not consulted about the three strikes policy.
“The reality is that I was given briefings, I saw Cabinet papers and attended Cabinet meetings as Minister of Maori Affairs,” said Dr Sharples.
“In that capacity I have a very close relationship with Dr Sharples as Associate Minister of Corrections and with Dr Sharples the Co-leader of the Maori Party,” he said.
Had Labour invited the Maori Party into government they might already have understood how it works.
On March 18:
1229 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor declared himself King of Jerusalem during the Sixth Crusade.
1438 Albert II of Habsburg became King of Germany.
1766 The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, which had been very unpopular in the British colonies.
1834 Six farm labourers from Tolpuddle were sentenced to be transported to Australia for forming a trade union.
1837 Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, was born.
1858 Rudolf Diesel, German inventor, was born.
1865 The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourned for the last time.
1869 Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.
1893 Wilfred Owen, British poet, was born.
1915 Richard Condon, American novelist, was born.
1915 Three battleships were sunk during a failed British and French naval attack on the Dardanelles.
1921 The second Peace of Riga between Poland and Soviet Union.
1922 – The first public celebration of Bat mitzvah, for the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, was held in New York City.
1925 The Tri-State Tornado hit the Midwestern states of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, killing 695 people.
1928 Fidel V. Ramos, 12th President of the Philippines, was born.
1932 John Updike, American author, was born.
1936 Frederik Willem de Klerk, President of South Africa, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.
1937 The New London School explosion killed three hundred, mostly children.
1937 – Spanish Republican forces defeated the Italians at the Battle of Guadalajara.
1937 – The human-powered aircraft, Pedaliante, flew1 kilometre (0.62 mi) outside Milan.
1938 Charley Pride, American musician, was born.
1938 Mexico nationalised all foreign-owned oil properties within its borders.
1941 New Zealand troops arrived in Greece to bolster Allied defences.
1944 Dick Smith, Australian Adventurer and Businessman, was born.
1944 The eruption of Mount Vesuvius killed 26 and causes thousands to flee their homes.
1945 Joy Fielding, Canadian novelist and actress, was born.
1945 World War II: 1,250 American bombers attacked Berlin.
1947 Patrick Barlow, English actor, comedian and playwright, was born.
1949 Alex Higgins, Northern Irish snooker player, was born.
1950 John Hartman, American drummer (Doobie Brothers, was born.
1951 Ben Cohen, American co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, was born.
1953 An earthquake hit western Turkey, killing 250.
1960 James MacPherson, Scottish actor, was born.
1962 The Evian Accords put an end to the Algerian War of Independence.
1967 The supertanker Torrey Canyon ran aground off the Cornish coast.
1971 A landslide at Chungar, Peru crashed into Lake Yanahuani killing 200.
1974 Oil embargo crisis: Most OPEC nations ended a five-month oil embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan.
1980 At Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, 50 people were killed by an explosion of a Vostok-2M rocket on its launch pad during a fueling operation.
1989 A 4,400-year-old mummy was found near the Pyramid of Cheops.
1997 The tail of a Russian Antonov An-24 charter plane breaks off while en-route to Turkey causing the plane to crash and killing all 50 on board and leading to the grounding of all An-24s.
2003 – British Sign Language was recognised as an official British language.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia