Education Secretary Lesley Longstone resigns
Wed, 19 Dec 2012 11:40a.m.
By Lloyd Burr
Lesley Longstone has resigned as the Secretary of Education
The announcement was made at a press conference called by State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie this afternoon and comes after a troublesome year for the Ministry of Education.
Ms Longstone, who was appointed to the role in November 2011 on a five-year term, is understood to have had a difficult relationship with Education Minister Hekia Parata.
"Insufficient progress has been made in the context of how the Ministry was operating," Mr Rennie said.
Ms Longstone was not present at the press conference, where Mr Rennie explained critical relationships had been strained” and the relationship with Ms Parata was a factor in the decision he and Ms Longstone made.
“We have been talking about this over the last few weeks,” he said.
Ms Parata was informed of the decision “after it was made”.
There have been a number of embarrassments for the Ministry of Education this year, including public battles over National Standards, discrepancies in the Christchurch schools merger and consultation process, as well as the Novopay saga.
Peter Hughes will take over as acting secretary from February 9.
A 'golden handshake' is being negotiated at the moment and Mr Rennie says a payment package will be offered to Ms Longstone.
Labour MP Chris Hipkins this morning tweeted that Ms Longstone looked set to be taking the fall for what he called “Hekia’s mess in education”.
“Parata is the minister,” he wrote. “If anyone is going it should be her.”
Ms Longstone’s resignation comes a day after Ombudsman David McGee slammed the ministry over how it handled official information requests about the school closures, and announced he'll investigate the consultation process the ministry followed.
His initial investigation came after concerns were raised that inadequate information was available to schools and their communities before closure and merger decisions were made.
The ministry also made an "inappropriate suggestion" to Christchurch City Council that it should refuse an Official Information Act (OIA) request on the basis that "the information requested is not held by the council" - which it knew was untrue.
Education Minister Hekia Parata would not comment on the report on Wednesday, with a spokeswoman referring inquiries to the ministry.
As a result of Mr McGee's investigation, Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem will also review how the wider public sector handles OIA requests.
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23/12/2012 11:02:17 a.m.
Parata and this govt are a bad joke. now i hear a they receiving a 12 month back-dated salary increase??? who ever voted for them should be put in a russian gulag.
20/12/2012 9:07:54 p.m.
Should have been Parata resigning.While Jonkey and cohorts get a back dated pay rise, teachers are still fighting for the pay they are owed.Wow, Jonkey really is bleeding the people of NZ dry.
19/12/2012 10:16:28 p.m.
So, Parata is 'on holiday?' Seriously? And Key is dancing 'plonker style'? Seriously? On the very day that the Secretary of Education resigns. Unbelievable. these two make a mockery of the time that school staff are spending in sorting out Novopay and all the other nonsense.
19/12/2012 6:00:23 p.m.
whats this one going to cost the tax payers,all we seem to do is pay for politicians miss management..............
19/12/2012 1:09:54 p.m.
no mention about the continuing NOVA PAY problems. what a surpise.
19/12/2012 12:58:23 p.m.
Lesley Longstone has taken a dive to protect Hekia Parata who is the person who should be accountable for the shambles the ministry is in. And along the way they should terminate the employment of Iain Rennie as he is equally incompetent.and has been utterly invisible until today, when he was vocal in announcing the demise of Longstone. Appalling Mr Key this will have an impact on your voter base there are big numbers involved in the Educational sector who are very angry about this, especially being tossed a minnow when they want the shark!.
19/12/2012 12:56:04 p.m.
Here we go again, another sucker falling on the sword for incompetent politicians failing to do the right thing by resigning so far are Banks, Collins and now Parata. Just shows the true colours of our NZ National Government
19/12/2012 12:42:00 p.m.
Andy Wilson wrote:
I am not a fan of Longstone but come on Parata - resign now. You are simply not up to the job. You seem to be unable to work with anyone. I would suggest that you better watch your back Key.
19/12/2012 12:16:43 p.m.
Shame she is going. The big problem is that she told the truth about the underperforming NZ school system and that would never go down well when it's 'world class' (in New Zealand).
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