What They Should Be Doing.

Posted: November 25, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

The cat’s toilet paper local paper is absolute shite.  Everything in it is either a press release rewrite or absolute tripe.

As exhibit one illustrates, some of their press release rewriters reporters can’t even string a sentence together, let alone a story.

The worst bit though, is this crap that regularly wastes valuable column inches on the front page.


She ignores the fact that had the fireworks event been held this weekend, the crowd would much likely have been a bit larger.  She ignores that it’s another Council fuck up, and then has the audacity to try and force readers to go to events when they have better things to do.

Regular readers will know my views on Fairfax’s race with Mediaworks to the bottom of the news barrel, but the From the Editor‘s Arse takes the biscuit.

The waste of column inches should look like this:


But that would be old-fashioned newsgathering, and we know the current editor doesn’t do that.

In other news,


I bet it’s Fairfax, the organisation that applies emasculation to news in the same way its accountants apply razors to quality.

Appoint the best person for the role.  Don’t choose someone just because they sit down to pee.


This Is Not Going To Go Well

Posted: November 19, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

The Commissioner of Salford School has not released the monies awarded by the Employment Court to former principal Marlene Campbell in lost salary.

These monies are nothing to do with the part of the appeal the Commissioner is currently undertaking and were ordered to be paid in July.

Given the Ministry of Education is underwriting the costs (even though they deny it, our Ministry contact has sent us physical confirmation), it’s not as though they can’t pay.  Anyway, according to Campbell’s facebook page, her lawyer has slapped an enforcement order on the Commissioner.

Enforcement orders are quite scary from a judicial perspective.

The courts judging these orders tend to look very unfavourably on those who ignore rulings made by other courts.  If the enforcement order goes anywhere near the bench, one can expect the $82,000 sought to increase by a quantum of interest, legal fees, and even an extra wallet-battering for just being arseholes.

And who pays?  Taxpayers.



#editorless #anditshows

Posted: November 19, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

The last post referred to how Fairfax doesn’t really give a toss about New Zealand and will probably divest its assets here apart from the few bits that make some cash for little outlay.

However, as Julian and Nick Smith know, a well-run media outlet is a licence to print money.

Fairfax is run by accountants, not news people.  And it shows.

The Person Without A Penis Appointed To Wreck The Fish N Chipper (PWAPATWTFNC) is living proof.

Everyone has seen the demise of the Southland Times into the Press Release Rewrite Special.  Now the PWAPATWTFNC has turned her special brand of awful on to the community rags too.

Here’s the list of contacts for today’s The Pink Eye newspaper:


Just one problem.  These are the contacts for the Newslink stable of newspapers, not The Pink Eye.

It gets better.  Or worse, as your perspective may be.  The fish n chipper wrote two differing reviews on two different days for the new James Bond flick.  This, I know, was brought to the attention of the fish n chipper.

Yet the PWAPATWTFNC went one further and put two different reviews in the SAME copy of The Pink Eye.

Then we had this amazing shot.  It’s supposed to be the painting of Cathedral Peak in Manapouri.  Except it’s not.  It’s a picture of a room.


But I’ve saved the best to last (and this list is by no means exhaustive in today’s emergency toilet paper).

Lost for words?  Got writer’s block?  Just give your last few readers lots of kisses.


The fish n chipper and associates should be making cash hand over fist like Allied Press.  Yet the Fairfax way of rewarding mediocrity is paying other dividends.  Like laughing at the quality-free plonkers who make these egregious mistakes that would have seen them fired five years ago.

Yet, as any NZ comedian will tell you, facepalms don’t pay the bills….


Fairfax Doesn’t Want NZ

Posted: November 17, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

Ironically, at the Fairfax AGM, the presentation mentions the New Zealand arm only eight times – all invariably negative.  Yet the negative areas should be growth areas…anyone think they might be getting the wrong advice from their ‘media experts’?

In July 2013, Limited Statutory Manager Peter Macdonald had a problem.

The NZ School Trustees Association and school lawyer Diccon Sim were instructed not to progress the historic complaint against Marlene Campbell.  Nonetheless, Macdonald unilaterally decided the complaint was valid and should be upheld.

This was the first public sign of cracks appearing in the relationship between Gallaway Cook Adam partner Mr Sim and Macdonald.

As an ex-Ministry staffer told CQAE, Macdonald likes to be the ‘boss’.  Mr Sim, on the other hand, was employed to offer legal advice and it seems Macdonald didn’t like the advice he was getting.

“You have to remember at this time, Prue Taylor was resigning after being reinstated at Christchurch GHS,” the Man from the Ministry says.  “That debacle was a massive kick in the guts for Macdonald and the Ministry.  He was determined that he would not have a similar embarrassment at Salford.  The feeling at the Ministry at the time was that he was replacing Sim with someone who would do what he was told.”

Enter Gallaway Cook Adam ‘consultant’ Geoff Bevan.

Mr Bevan’s actions ended up being crucial to Campbell winning her case in the Employment Court.  But back to the timeline.  By the end of September 2013, Mr Sim was back to being a skilled and reasonable advocate for other clients while the Limited Statutory Manager and his new legal advisor had moved on to yet another investigation.

“There was some disquiet at head office about the never-ending round of investigations,” the Man from the Ministry says.  “Some of us felt that eventually they would have to stop, but we had other fish to fry and stopped getting updates.  It became something that was being handled by a tight group at the regional level and a few in Wellington.”

The investigation continued, collecting corpses on the way.  The Board of Trustees chair resigned on October 25, followed closely by another Board member.

On Friday November 1, Marlene Campbell and her family were on their way to a family reunion at Kaka Point.  Just before they drove out of cellphone coverage, she received a call from her solicitors telling her that Bevan had sent a letter suspending her.  She was instructed not to report to work on Monday.

The family reunion was an important one, and her solicitor advised her to go to it as there was a telephone conference between them and Bevan at 8.30am on Monday to discuss the “proposed” suspension.

“The whole weekend was a nightmare,” Campbell says.  “I couldn’t relax, or sleep, and what should have been a rare chance to catch up with family became a disaster.”

It got worse.

Just after 6.00am on Monday, two hours before Campbell and her lawyers were to discuss the proposed suspension, the school administrator (yes, the one who wanted to know if it was OK to disregard bits of an Official Information Act request) emailed all Salford staff to tell them Macdonald had suspended Campbell.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked,” Campbell says.  “So much for a ‘proposed’ suspension, which we were going to fight.”

“I remember reading it in the news,” the ex-Ministry man says.  “By then the wagons had been circled at head office and the word was Macdonald was going to be given a very strong message.”

It was a clear breach of process and showed a lack of fairness which would come back to bite Macdonald and Bevan at the Employment Court.  But Macdonald was on his way out.  One week later, on November 11 2013, he was dropped and replaced by Commissioner Nicola Hornsey.

Any hope Campbell and her team had of a new set of eyes seeing a different resolution were quickly dashed.

…to be continued….

Is It A Lie If We Don’t Tell Them?

Posted: November 14, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

There’s a very interesting story on the apparent lack of backbone by NZ Herald editorial management doing the rounds at the moment.

The Ministry of Education got them to shift the goalposts…well, more accurately, burn the goalposts and scatter the ashes.  But the internet and screenshots are a wonderful thing.

The same thing was going on all the time during the Campbell saga at Salford.

In September 2013, the Ministry passed on this OIA request to the school:


The school administrator thought it might be a good idea to leave bits out:


The Board chair had a rare moment of clarity and said this:


Why would the administrator suggest leaving out the information and be in breach of the legislation?

There’s a few more examples to go yet, but it’s a beauty day here so it will have to wait….

The Big Picture

Posted: November 12, 2015 by cracker666 in Uncategorized

A troll commentor on a recent post about Salford School said the ends justified the means.

Because there are other things that pay the bills at CQAE Towers, we haven’t got around to joining all the dots just yet.  But it is coming.

The  troll commentor misses what the point is, however.

At present, something along the lines of 60+ schools are under statutory management in New Zealand.  Our little team is slowly collecting information on all of them.

Some need the statutory intervention, but in the majority of cases, statutory management is being used by the Ministry of Educaton as a blunt instrument to remove principals or Boards whose ‘faces don’t fit’.

So to the question of whether the ends justify the means.

Following proper practice and, if needed, some sort of mediation or negotiation is far more cost-effective than the sledgehammer-to-break-a-nut approach favoured by the Ministry.

Salford School had over $60,000 in reserves – most raised by parents through the PTA.  Within short months of Peter Macdonald being appointed, the school Board was going cap in hand to the Ministry asking for more money.

An email sent to one of my former students (one can only assume in error) by the school administrator as part of an Official Information Act request  in September 2013 had this very salient comment from the Board chair at the time:

She finds it extremely difficult - so they cut curriculum items to pay for a statutory manager....

She finds it extremely difficult – so they cut curriculum items to pay for a statutory manager….

Now imagine the same thing at 60+ schools.  How, for instance, is tiny Te Tipua School going to fund the expensive Mr Ferris?

Sadly, this story was written up for the Southland Times in 2013.  The woman who is now editor didn’t think it was newsworthy.  Now she prints newsworthy items like this.  The combination of a hopeless and somnolent local media, a weak and rudderless board of trustees, and the taxpayer-funded onslaught of the Ministry of Education has allowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to be wasted while those responsible get off scot-free and continue to teach incompetently in a school that is being run into the ground.

So do the ends justify the means?  Clearly the answer is no, and if you’re happy with your tax dollars tagged for education being poured into a litigious black hole, then more fool you.