02 May 2007

In other news, Christmas has been cancelled

'The attention of Ministers has been drawn to the inconvenience resulting from the practice which has grown up, of Officers leaving the Buildings daily for luncheon, and the Government Offices being practically deserted in the middle of the day.  Ministers cannot find any authority for this practice, which is in direct contravention of the last order issued on the subject. The inconvenience caused by this proceeding is very serious, and Ministers have decided that it must be stopped.

In consideration of this decision, the official hours of attendance will be terminated at four o'clock instead of half-past four, except on Saturdays, the existing rule as to that day remaining unchanged.  It must therefore be understood that, in future, Officers in the Government Buildings are not, except when special permission is given, to absent themselves from their Offices for luncheon.

Heads of Departments will see that this rule is strictly enforced'

- New Zealand's Secretary of the Cabinet, Ebenezer Fox, 16 January 1880

[Quoted in R. Kitteridge, 'The Cabinet Manual: Evolution with Time', March 2006, Cabinet Office websiteIn a curious coincidence, Ebenezer Fox was also the name of a notorious poacher in Stevenage in the same era.  The poacher had a twin brother.  Perhaps one of the brothers secretly emigrated to New Zealand and found refuge in Parliament...]

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