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National's appalling attack on state servants

9 September 2005

National's appalling attack on state servants another diversion from Brash credibility issue

An appalling attack by the National Party on neutral state servants is just another diversion to draw attention away from Don Brash's credibility around the Exclusive Brethren affair, says Education Minister Trevor Mallard.

He was responding to claims by the National Party that a joint information campaign by the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to parents around NCEA was "blatant politicking by the civil service".

Trevor Mallard says these claims were a desperate attempt by the National Party to draw attention away from leader Don Brash's credibility, with it now being clear that Don Brash misled the public about his Party's knowledge of a smear campaign being conducted by the Exclusive Brethren.

"This is an outrageous attack on the integrity of senior public servants," says Trevor Mallard. "I am advised that this communications campaign was devised before an election date was even set, so to claim it was timed to coincide with the election is ludicrous. Moreover, these are communications identified as urgently needed by an independent review of the performance of NZQA carried out by the State Service Commission."

The State Services Commission Report released on 4 August, 2005, made the specific recommendation: "NZQA ensures that it has a consistent, sustained and tailored approach to communication with stakeholders about secondary qualifications particularly for parents and employers." (Page 8: recommendation 17). The material was sent out now because exam entries close on 16 September. The letter to parents was sent with a student brochure to save postage.

Trevor Mallard says that the joint Ministry-NZQA parental information programme was also something that both Don Brash and his education spokesman Bill English appeared until recently to support the need for. (*see comments below)

"I can only assume now that Dr Brash's integrity is under intense scrutiny because of the poor judgment he has shown over the whole Brethren affair, that it is expedient to try and bash-up the public service," Trevor Mallard said. "This is appalling and just another reason why Don Brash can not be trusted to run the country."

* National on supporting improved parental involvement in NCEA:

"A parent who is well informed will take more interest in their child’s education and help their child learn more effectively at home." 31 August 2005, Bill English: National's 2005 School Reporting Policy.

"We will also make sure the education system responds to the needs of those with the biggest stake in it - our children. NCEA needs to be fixed so parents and pupils can trust it." 04 September 2005, Don Brash: Families crucial building blocks.

ENDS

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