I have no idea who Alan Barker is but all power to him, I just hope Nicky Hager doesn’t hack his emails

The Press has run a story because…shock, horror…a school hired a political activist to achieve a goal.

They say ‘political’ like it is a bad thing.

A political “activist” was instrumental in overturning a Christchurch school’s proposed post-quake merger, its former board chairman says.

Yaldhurst Model School staff and community were shocked when the Ministry of Education proposed in September 2012 that it would merge with Gilberthorpe School as part of Christchurch’s post-earthquake schools restructure.

Its former leaders have now spoken out in an open letter to the ministry, saying its recent apology for the Christchurch school shake-up process “misses the mark”.

The community was “thrust into politics and forced to seek media attention, on trial in the court of public opinion”.

While many schools used ministry funding for community consultation at the time of proposed changes, board chairman Paul Bridgman said he sought political advice.

“I just Googled political activist.”

He believed the $7000 worth of expert advice the school received from political consultant Alan Barker gave it invaluable strategies to win its campaign to stay open.

It was given tips on getting through to politicians, including organising a protest alongside a local business being visited by the Prime Minister, ambushing then-Education Minister Hekia Parata with one-on-ones with parents during a school visit, and personally handing her its 600-word submission hoping she could at least read it in the car after leaving.

“We were told she doesn’t read big documents.”

I don’t agree with the aims of the campaign, but credit where credit is due, these guys got real smart and sought proper advice, that being political advice to solve a political problem.

I really can’t see the problem, it is certainly why I get hired for projects.

So what if Alan Barker is a political activist and so what if his politics don’t match mine. This is a valid response to a political issue.

I just hope that Nicky Hager doesn’t decide that Alan Barker shouldn’t be practising his own “dirty politics” and arrange for a hack of his emails…or does that only happen to effective lobbyists who oppose Hager’s own warped world view?


-The Press

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.