Hekia Parata

Budget announcements coming thick and fast

Just to take all the heat out of budget day (21st), the “leaking” has started

Four new state schools will be built around the country as a result of a $244 million spend in the education sector in this year’s Budget, the Prime Minister says.

John Key made the announcement in a pre-Budget speech at Wellington’s Te Papa in front of a Business NZ function this afternoon.

While Mr Key didn’t give many details away about next month’s Budget, he did reveal two details about spending which also included an $80M boost to research and development funding for Callaghan Innovation.

As part of the Budget spend in education, Rototuna Senior High School in Hamilton, a primary school near Rolleston in Christchurch and two primary schools in Auckland ‚Äď one in Kumeu and another at Scott Point, will be created.

The money will also go into three new kura kaupapa Maori schools in Whakatane, Gisborne and Hastings.

It’s the way to try and control some of the news cycle leading up to the budget. ¬†I mean, who can argue with new schools where they are needed?

Read more »

Charter School defenders proven wrong

As you may recall, ¬†Te Pumanawa o te Wairua School, in Whangaruru, Northland is a charter school that has been given four weeks to get its act together or face closure. ¬† I’ve criticised Hekia Parata of this mess on two fronts. ¬†One, she should never have allowed this school to come about in the first place – the warning signs were there. ¬†Two, she should have closely managed its success, as the Charter School flagship schools could not be allowed to fail.

The school faced a clear list of shortcomings, but many people, including my own readers, oddly enough, defended Parata and the school blaming the ‘difficult’ kids who had been out of the school system too long. ¬†I found this gob smacking. ¬†That was a known going in. ¬†That was the very issue that needed fixing.

A report was released yesterday that also totally debunks it being the kids’ fault.

Documents released today, including an annotated report written by the ministry’s deputy secretary or sector enablement and support Katrina Casey , identified school management as the cause of the issues – which include truancy, a falling roll and underachievement.

“The on-going issues present at the school are directly attributable to the quality of the leadership and management running the school,” it said.

Next to that comment, Ms Parata had written: “YES”.

The report went on to say the Ng? Parirau M?tauranga Trust, which had the contract to run the school, needed to replace the leadership team with suitable appropriate and experienced personnel. Only in that case could it make a swift recovery.

It said a trust member had taken a part time operational role in the school this year, but it was “not clear they have the required skills to effectively manage the Education Director or the operations of the school”.

Read more »

Trouble in coalition land?

We’ve had two terms when the National-led coalition government did a pretty good job at presenting a united front. ¬†With the exception of Peter Dunne, who already went troppo over the last few years (did this coincide with legal highs?), the other partners didn’t openly defy National.

That has changed.  In spite of National being returned with a record-breaking 3rd term majority under MMP, its coalition partners and indeed National itself are now openly fighting in front of the kids.

There won’t be a referendum on national super while John Key is Prime Minister.

He has shot down ACT leader David Seymour’s call for the people to decide how superannuation should be funded.

Mr Seymour told his party’s annual conference on Saturday the current scheme wasn’t viable in the long term and there had to be changes to make it financially sustainable.

He wants an expert group appointed to come up with options for a referendum, and says raising the age from 65 isn’t the only one available.

Mr Key isn’t interested and says Mr Seymour, a government ally, didn’t talk to him before raising the issue.

“I read about it in the newspaper,” he said.

“There won’t be a referendum. The National Party is clear on super – the age should stay at 65 and the entitlement at 66 percent (of the average wage).”

During the 2008 election campaign, which he won, Mr Key pledged that if there was any change to national super under his watch he would resign from parliament.

There you go. ¬†“Don’t broadside me in the media, son”, says Key to minnow David. ¬† “We do these things behind the scenes where I can tell you to stop playing games.”

Says one commenter:

John Key has no problem spending $26 million on flag referendum but unwilling to spend any money on one as important as the future financial security of our country and how to fund superannuation.

But add this to Peter Dunne and the Maori Party being extremely vocal against sending New Zealand troops to Iraq, and in public at least, this coalition government looks far from a cohesive team.

I don’t get a sense this is by design. ¬† Key’s having trouble with his back bench, can’t see eye to eye with Joyce who wants to keep giving money away to SkyCity and Team New Zealand no matter the public opposition, had to pull the plug on Parata’s charter schools, is getting constant static from Bill English over delivering a surplus, and he’s now bickering with coalition partners through the media.

To seasoned observers, these are interesting developments.

- NZN via 3 News

Read more »

Government’s confidence takes a knock over charter schools

If they work (and they do), we need to have more of them, but the Government has put a stop to more Charter School applications.

The Education Minister has ruled out any chance of a third round of charter school applications this year.

Hekia Parata’s statement, made to Parliament today, comes amidst concern over a Northland charter school.

Earlier today,¬†it was revealed Parata had signed off on Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru charter school in Northland, despite ministry concerns the school had not outlined a “safe environment” for students.

Parata received a glowing reference for Whangaruru school, near Whangarei, from the authorisation board and after considering both sets of advice she authorised the school to go ahead in September 2013.

The school has since lost a quarter of its roll and has dealt with issues of attendance, bullying, drug use and management infighting.

So Parata has one (rather spectacular) failure, and that’s it? ¬†No more charter schools? ¬† Read more »

A reader emails about Pat Newman and the demise of the Teachers Council

Following on from your article ‚ÄėWHEN THE UNIONS, LABOUR AND MILITANT PRINCIPALS COMPLAIN‘ regarding Pat Newman; another reader has provided an update on his undisclosed role and affiliation with the New Zealand Teachers Council.

Hopefully Pat Newman reads Whaleoil, much like Mary Rose Painter (Communications Advisor at the New Zealand Teachers Council), refer Whaleoil article ‘ HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? HE WAS REGISTERED (UPDATED)‘ where Mary had emailed requesting the article be amended.

Interesting to note is the Teachers Council and Anna Kirtlan (NZPPTA Communications Advisor and PPTA News Editor) have also made comment in other Whaleoil articles; you have obviously caught their attention Cameron and team.

As a parent, who has had the misfortune of sitting across the table from these people at the Teachers Council, I would like to say they should be ashamed of themselves! With confidence I know I am not a lone parent celebrating the demise of the New Zealand Teachers Council, it has been long overdue for an overhaul.

For the benefit of the Teachers Council (including Pat Newman) and PPTA readers here are some cold hard facts you have unsurprisingly failed to address.

‘Review of the New Zealand Teachers Council’

Report to Hon. Hekia Parata

QUOTE:

” In fact only 10 percent of all complaints referred to the CAC have been referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal. The Review Committee was openly told that, in practice, employers and the unions worked together to try to prevent reporting to the Council and that the reporting requirement was used as a lever to settle a dispute”

Read more »

Speaking of National and arrogance… Hekia Parata

bill-english-hekia-parata-john-key

Charter schools are an important and effective step towards solving a problem with children that are on the fringes of the current education system.  Charter schools are also a political hot potato.  The opposition and the media are looking for any excuse to expose them as failures.

Education Minister Hekia Parata ignored advice from her ministry and signed off on a Northland charter school that has been plagued with problems since opening last year.

It can be revealed that Parata received a glowing reference from the charter school authorisation board regarding Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru and signed a contract with the school’s sponsor in September 2013.

That was despite ministry concerns the Whangaruru school had not outlined a “safe environment” for students and had not spoken with local iwi about their plans.

Since the school opened, the Education Review Office has identified a number of problems with the quality of teaching, learning, management, leadership and student engagement.

The quality of teaching, learning, management, leadership and student engagement. ¬†That’s not a minor list of complaints. ¬† Read more »

Another Nail in the “Charter Schools are over-funded” coffin

PPTA, NZEI and opposition parties have tried to establish the myth of Charter Schools being over-funded in the minds of what they consider to be the gullible public.

For the first 4 Years of the first 5 schools the whole Charter School budget was $19 million (i.e. less than $5 million a year). Charter School start-up funding is approximately $1 million per school.

Hekia Parata has just announced a new State School in Takanini. Start up funding $20 million.

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced that $20 million has been set aside for the establishment of a new primary school in Takanini, Auckland.

Takanini is a fast-growing suburb and anticipated population growth is expected to generate approximately 4000 additional pupils by 2020.

Ms Parata says Takanini is a sought-after area because of special housing and private land development and there is a need to cater to the booming school-aged population. ¬†¬† Read more »

Shows how seriously the Greens take Education

The lowest ranking given to any MPs who did not quit at the election was the 2 out of 10 to Green MP Catherine Delahunty, despite her being said to have had a “brighter year”,

The lowest ranking given to any MPs who did not quit at the election was the 2 out of 10 to Green MP Catherine Delahunty, despite her being said to have had a “brighter year”, and NZ First’s Richard Prosser, though it was noted he had “kept his head down” since his “Wogistan” comments.

She still has not fronted to her outrageous lie about visiting charter schools when she hasn’t done any such thing.

If Hekia Parata claimed to have visited a school but hadn’t what would the Greens be demanding? ¬†¬† Read more »

Labour needs to lose dead wood, but how?

256

Dave Armstrong at Fairfax writes about Labour needing to chop out some dead wood.

Boom boom! Last week began with pure farce as New Zealand’s largest centre-Left party performed the latest episode of Labour Behaving Badly.

Like a naughty fourth former who had just received bad end-of-year reports, Labour’s caucus rounded on leader David Cunliffe, who had bravely led them down the garden path to their worst result in almost a century.

Cunliffe could rightly argue that winning was always going to be a big ask and that he did his best. But he should know that it’s only in big multinational companies where CEOs are heaped with praise and massive bonuses after a disastrous result.

Cunliffe did well in the debates and drove himself to exhaustion in the final fortnight but it was too little, too late.

Yes, Dirty Politics and the Moment of Truth denied him oxygen but it was the first six months of his leadership where the real damage was done.

Various distractions, often thanks to leaks from both sides of the House, and too many gaffes never allowed him to focus on issues. Even during the campaign he made the mistake, as he later admitted, of not working more strategically with the Greens.

Read more »

Do we really still need the Maori seats?

The Maori seats are becoming a bit of a joke.

They have the lowest voter turnout, were supposed to be temporary and now after the last election seemingly irrelevant when 19 Maori were elected in general seats.

About the only use I can find for Maori seats is that it parks a whole bunch of Labour votes that might make the difference in general seats like Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and East Cape and sequesters them in irrelevance.

Parliament now has more Maori MPs than ever before, prompting one commentator to question whether Maori seats were still needed.

Nineteen Maori MPs have been elected in general electorates and on party lists. Once the seven Maori seats are included, the total number of MPs who identify as Maori is 26 – up from 21 in 2011.

This means one in five MPs in the new Parliament were Maori, compared to one in seven in the general population.

The National Party’s caucus is 15 per cent Maori, including two MPs likely to be given high-ranking portfolios – Paula Bennett and Hekia Parata.

The growing proportion of Maori in Parliament was met with mixed responses from Maori leaders.¬† Read more »