Calls for Parata to step down
Wed, 19 Dec 2012 2:26p.m.
By Angela Beswick
There are calls for Education Minister Hekia Parata to step down following the resignation of Lesley Longstone this afternoon.
The Education Secretary was appointed to the role in November 2011 on a five-year term, but is understood to have had a difficult relationship with Ms Parata during what has been an embarrassing year for the Ministry of Education.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie said “critical relationships had been strained” and the relationship between Ms Longstone and Ms Parata was a factor in the decision he and Ms Longstone made for her to step down.
“We have been talking about this over the last few weeks,” he said.
In a statement released to media this afternoon, the Greens dubbed Ms Longstone a “scapegoat” and said Ms Parata should stand down after “one of the most destructive years in New Zealand education”.
“The Green Party welcomes a new broom at the Education Ministry as a year of blunders, which put huge stress on kids, families and teachers, comes to an end,” party co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“The Government needed someone to take the blame for all of Hekia Parata’s stuff ups as Minister and Lesley Longstone looks like she is its woman.”
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 Parata is currently on holiday and has declined to comment until the new year.
But, in a statement released to media this afternoon, she acknowledged Ms Longstone’s resignation and her “efforts during her time at the Ministry”.
“It has been a difficult period and there have been a series of tough issues to deal with.”
Ms Longstone’s resignation follows a year of public battles for the Ministry including the Novopay salary debacle, National Standards and discrepancies in the Christchurch schools merger and consultation process.
Mr Rennie said a ‘golden handshake’ is being negotiated at the moment and a payment package will be offered to Ms Longstone.
Peter Hughes will take over as Acting Education Secretary from February 9.
A Ministry of blunders:
Longstone 'the fall guy for an inept minister'
The Public Service Association has also come out firing, saying Ms Longstone has become the fall guy for “an inept minister”.
In a statement released to media this afternoon, National Secretary Brenda Pilott said the resignation had undoubtedly come as a result of Ministerial pressure and interference.
“Lesley Longstone was put under enormous pressure by the Education Minister. She has been forced to front the issues while the Minister has consistently ducked for cover,” she said.
“It’s time for Hekia Parata to take some responsibility for her own mismanagement rather than making others pay the price.”
Ms Pilott says it is time for the State Services Commission to take stock of the way it appoints and supports chief executives.
Work and Income head Janet Grossman, like Ms Longstone, was headhunted from Britain – but resigned after just nine months in the position.
“The Commission needs to think long and hard about making overseas appointments and consider the unique complexities, demands and pressures of the New Zealand context,” Ms Pilott says.
“High level public sector management requires not only competence but a deep understanding and experience of the issues past and present.”
Ms Pilott says Ms Longstone was allowed to “walk into the eye of a storm”.
“I think it’s fair to question whether she was armed with the right knowledge and experience to weather it, and whether she was given adequate support – particularly in the face of strong Ministerial challenges and very high political stakes.”
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27/12/2012 10:46:07 p.m.
Clifford Hallett wrote:
Poll: Should Hekia Parata be Sacked as Education Minister Yes or No?
20/12/2012 2:38:29 a.m.
The whole of the National party should GO!!..they have messed this country up big time, NO JOBS,,No SCHOOLS,,NO DEMOCRATIC PROCESS,,PRISONS FULL AND BUILDING MORE...thats just a few,,get rid of the nats NOW!!
20/12/2012 12:09:07 a.m.
In my opinion, I think 4 ministers in the cabinet need to go or get the sack.
(1) Parata-for inefficiency and arrogance.
(2) John Banks-for his dirty dishonest deeds.
(3) Bill English-for stupid policies during a recession.
(4) John Key-Works primarily for the wealthy and not for all....And the buck stops with him.
19/12/2012 9:18:29 p.m.
Parata DEFINITELY has to go...and her 365 wear once outfits in her wardrobe as well. She doesn't realise that part of her role is to work for the good of the teachers and pupils of whom she is minister. What has she done to make sure the teachers have pay??? What has she done to make sure that the families of the teachers have a decent Christmas? Has she approached Bennett to make sure that the people in the education area are able to access the emergency benefit. Amazing that ALL the banks are helping the teachers and yet the Minister of Education seems keen to punish the teachers for their right to voice their views and opinions. Parata, your role is to work for the better of the teachers and pupils. PS:Higher Salaries Commission, woe betide you lot if you sign off these grubby pollies a salary increase. They haven't worked for it and don't desreve it.
19/12/2012 7:18:32 p.m.
If you think that John Key couldn't give the education portfolio to anybody worse that Anne Tolley, then he did with Hekia Parata. The woman is simply incompetent and needs to go. Surely Key can find somebody within his caucus who is up to the job because Parata certainly isn't.
19/12/2012 6:33:43 p.m.
So Ms Longstone has become the "fallguy"for the ineptness of the Minister of Education. Very sad indeed. I find it ludicris, that the Prime Minister continues to support the Minister of Education when clearly, she needs to go! I hope Ms Longstone is well compensated for enduring a lack of support from the Minister!
19/12/2012 6:00:30 p.m.
Ian Rennie should go too ! wrote:
Longstone has been long overdue to go - her department is overflowing with bureaucrats of highly questionable abilities and intellects. I was a BOT member, for 4 years, for a school in Christchurch that is facing closure - the school as about 200 pupils but the MOE thinks there are 50 buildings on it's site. The Ministry in Wellington also doesn't know what part of Christchurch the school is located in or that the nearby schools all have rolls that are overflowing. That's not a problem that MP's or Ministers should be responsible for; that's bureaucratic incompetence - and its at epidemic proportions. The department CEO is responsible - unfortunately it appears Longstone didn't research the functional quality of her employer when she took the job. It would seem she didn't establish that the department has been a nightmare in terms of Head office competence since the Clark Government came to power.
What an amazing day - Chris Hipkins and Meteria Turei have shown their extraordinary ignorance of the sector; simply so they can take a potshot at Parata. Talk about shoot yourself in the foot !!
19/12/2012 5:53:16 p.m.
The Al1en wrote:
"Wow, so much illiteracy in one place. Nice one Bernard."
And he still makes more sense than you.
19/12/2012 4:39:46 p.m.
Wow, so much illiteracy in one place. Nice one Bernard.
19/12/2012 4:12:23 p.m.
un like most i choose tto learn from history its time for her and her entire government minister . to stand down and resign . record enemployment , deficits they just borred billions the other day to keep the tax cuts up for the elite wealthy like the prime. billions plus the intrest and we see no jobs no return its nothing but socialisim for the like of the wealthy elites . evil and wicked their vaults are filled with the bounty stolen from the poot and hard working tax paying kiwis . they are rich bludgers thats all they are . the money the man who just lost his job after yearsand paid his tax is also just as much his nz think about it .its time they were driven from office like an unwanted plague .
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