Word of the day


 Immanence – remaining within; indwelling; inherent; restricted entirely to the mind; subjective.

Hat tip: Bowalley Road

Actions unlawful but no prosecution


Police have decided not to prosecute Bradley Ambrose the cameraman who recorded the conversation between John Key and John Banks last year.

John Key has welcomed the decision.

“I also welcome Bradley Ambrose’s letter of regret,” says Mr Key.

“I note that the Police statement today contains the comment that, while Mr Ambrose has been issued a warning, the Police are clear that his actions were unlawful. 

“As the complainant in this matter, my views were sought by the Crown Solicitor on whether I thought Mr Ambrose should be prosecuted.  In light of Mr Ambrose’s letter of regret, I indicated that I did not believe a prosecution was now necessary. . . “

Whether or not the microphone was left on the table deliberately, it was no accident that the tape was given to the media and that it or its contents were given to others.

The police view that Ambrose’s actions were unlawful upholds the principle that private conversations are private, even if held  in public places.


The police announcement says:

 . . . While Police will not be prosecuting Mr Ambrose he will be issued with a warning.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess says this follows a thorough investigation:

“We have examined the full circumstances of how the recording was made and interviewed key witnesses. The decision has been made based on our own analysis of the case and legal advice from the Auckland Crown solicitor, plus consideration of Crown Law prosecution guidelines.

“One factor taken into account is a letter of regret from Mr Ambrose which has been sent to the Prime Minister and Mr Banks. They have both indicated acceptance of this statement.

“While Police have issued a warning in this instance we are clear that the actions of Mr Ambrose were unlawful. This sends a clear message to media that the recording and distribution of conversations that are considered private is likely to lead to prosecution in the future. . .

NZ First has a youth wing?


Who would have thought it? New Zealand first has a youth wing – Young New Zealand first.

Callum Fredric, Critic’s political reporter interviewed two of its members and began by saying:

The New Zealand First Party is the Salmond College of political parties – far enough away from the mainstream to be forgotten by most, but not quite far out enough to gain notoriety like the Mana Party (Aquinas). . .

You might have to know a little about Otago University’s halls of residence to understand the metaphors but even if you don’t, the rest of the interview makes interesting reading.

It’s Anniversary Day – or not


Today is the closest Monday to March 23rd, the anniversary of the arrival of the John Wickliffe in Port Chalmers with the first Scottish settlers.

That makes it a public holiday which some choose to observe today and others choose to tack onto Easter or any other day which suits.

The Waiareka stock sale which normally takes place on Monday is being held tomorrow but we won’t know which other businesses we might want to use will be open until we phone or call.

This confusion happens every year but repeated attempts to get the whole of Otago and Southland to observe the same day have failed. Given the independent spirit of those early settlers that’s probably appropriate.

Performance-based pay good for teachers and pupils


Who hasn’t had experience of teachers across the performance spectrum?

I can remember a few excellent teachers, a mercifully small number of really bad ones and a lot spread between the two extremes.

This is of course a subjective view. Finding an objective system of measuring teacher performance is no easy matter, but it is vital if we want to improve teaching standards and pupils’ performance as Education Minister Hekia Parata said on Q&A:

I think the single biggest challenge we have is to raise achievement, and improving teacher quality is going to directly contribute to that.  . .

. . . I think the first thing that has to be on the table is having a robust and reliable appraisal system that allows us to make those kinds of differentiations. If we want to raise teacher quality, we have to identify who is delivering successful practice and make that common practice. We have to identify where we need to improve the professional learning and development so that teachers can engage with students successfully and our students’ achievement is raised. . .

. . . And the point of an appraisal system is not to punish or blame but to identify where the best practice is occurring, how we get that happening across all schools and where improvement needs to occur and how we get support in. . .

Once a good appraisal system is found, performance based pay is a logical next step. The Minister is neither ruling it in nor out but she does identify a problem with the current system of pay for teachers:

Well, at the moment the starting salary for teachers is, I think, just over $50,000, and it can range through to over $200,000 for principals, so there is a broad range, but what I think the workforce taskforce reported last year was that we needed to look at the structure of the career pathways so that excellent teachers aren’t forced to become leaders or managers – in other words taken out of the classroom situation – because that would be the only way they could get a pay increase. So we have to look at that. We have to look at what the structure of career progression is and how we pay that.

The best way for teachers to improve their pay under the current system is to get out of the classroom and into administration.

That means that really good teachers aren’t paid what they deserve if they keep on teaching and not-so-good teachers get paid the same as better ones.

That isn’t good for the profession or the pupils.

Poor quality teaching is one of the contributing factors to the long tail of under-achievers in our education system, paying good teachers more could be part of the solution.

Urewera Operation Eight still before courts


Former Police Minister Annette King was interviewed about the Urewera trial on Q&A yesterday.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson wasn’t impressed:

This morning Labour MP Annette King appeared on television and made allegations about the Operation Eight investigation which occurred when she was Police Minister.

There are three on-going matters in the trials arising out of that operation:

1. The defendants’ sentencing on the firearms charges where guilty verdicts were returned;

2. The possibility of the defendants appealing those guilty verdicts; and

3. The Crown Solicitor’s decision on whether or not to seek a re-trial on the charges where no verdict was returned.

It is extremely disappointing a former minister of the Police would make these comments on television when she knows full well the Court process must run its course without political interference.

Government ministers will be making absolutely no comment while these matters are unresolved.

It is inappropriate for anyone, but particularly for politicians, to comment publicly on matters that are before the Courts.


March 26 in history


1026 Pope John XIX crowned Conrad II as Holy Roman Emperor.

1484 William Caxton printed his translation of Aesop’s Fables.

1516 Conrad Gessner, Swiss naturalist, was born  (d. 1565).

1552c Guru Amar Das became the Third Sikh Guru.

1636 Utrecht University was founded in the Netherlands.

1808  Charles IV of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII.

1812  An earthquake destroyed Caracas, Venezuela.

1830 The Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York.

1839  The first Henley Royal Regatta was held.

1859 Alfred Edward Housman, English poet, was born (d. 1936).

1874 Robert Frost, American poet, was born  (d. 1963).

1881 Thessaly was freed and becomes part of Greece again.

1896 Rudolf Dassler, Founder of PUMA AG, was born.

1896 The Brunner Mine Disaster killed 65 men.

Brunner mine disaster kills 65

1905 Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, was born (d. 1997).

1911 Tennessee Williams, American dramatist, was born  (d. 1983).

1913 Balkan War: Bulgarian forces took Adrianople.

1917 First Battle of Gaza – British troops were halted after 17,000 Turks blocked their advance.

1931 Leonard Nimoy, American actor and director, was born.

1934  The driving test was introduced in the United Kingdom.

1942   Auschwitz received its first female prisoners.

1942  Erica Jong, American author, was born.

1943 Bob Woodward, American journalist, was born.

1944 Diana Ross, American singer (Supremes), was born.

1945  World War II: In Iwo Jima, US forces declared Iwo Jima secure.

1948  Richard Tandy, British keyboardist (Electric Light Orchestra), was born.

1948 Steven Tyler, American singer (Aerosmith), was born.

1953  Jonas Salk announced his polio vaccine.

1954 Curtis Sliwa, American founder of the Guardian Angels, anit-crime activist, was born.

1958  The United States Army launched Explorer 3.

1958  The African Regroupment Party (PRA) is launched at a meeting in Paris.

1967  Ten thousand people gathered for one of many Central Park Be-Ins in New York City.

1968 James Iha, American musician (The Smashing Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle), was born.

1971  East Pakistan declared its independence from Pakistan to form People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Liberation War began.

1973 Lawrence E. Page, American search engine pioneer, was born.

1974  Gaura Devi leads a group of 27 women of Laata village, Henwalghati, Garhwal Himalayas, to form circles around trees to stop them being felled, thus sparking the Chipko Movement in India.

1975  The Biological Weapons Convention entered into force.

1976  Queen Elizabeth II sent out the first royal email, from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment.

1979  Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C.

1982  A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was held in Washington, D.C..

1991  Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay signed the Treaty of Asunción, establishing South Common Market (Mercosur its acronym in Spanish)

1995  The Schengen Treaty went into effect.

1996  The International Monetary Fund approved a $10.2 billion loan for Russia.

1997  Thirty-nine bodies found in the Heaven’s Gate cult suicides.

1998  Oued Bouaicha massacre in Algeria: 52 people killed with axes and knives, 32 of them babies under the age of 2.

1999 The “Melissa worm” infected Microsoft word processing and e-mail systems around the world.

2005 The Taiwanese government called on 1 million Taiwanese to demonstrate in Taipei, in opposition to the Anti-Secession Law of the People’s Republic of China. Around 200,000 to 300,000 attended the walk.

2006 In Scotland, the prohibition of smoking in all substantially enclosed public places went into force.

2006 The military junta ruling Burma officially named Naypyidaw, a new city in Mandalay Division, as the new capital. Yangon had formerly been the nation’s capital.

2010 – 46 died as a South Korean warship sank, allegedly after an attack by North Korea.

2011 – At least 250,000 people attend the 2011 London anti-cuts protest.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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