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Carter's convolutions over college continue

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

21 November 2007

Carter's convolutions over college continue

Education Minister Chris Carter has changed his story yet again about his Ministry's inaction over serious sexual abuse allegations against the principal of Hato Paora College, says National's Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

"Mr Carter has continued to maintain in Parliament since last week, and was still maintaining for a short while today, that the first the Ministry of Education knew about the abuse allegations was August 3 when it was notified by the school.

"Today, mid-question, he accepted that this was not correct and that the date was actually two days earlier when the media contacted the Ministry's communications unit - a call which gave the Ministry a clear heads-up on the serious issues facing the school.

"The Ministry could have become involved at that stage, but did nothing with the information, and just passively waited for the school to make a formal notification some days later.

"This is not the kind of response the public expects from the Ministry of Education and it flies in the face of the Minister's assurance that the number one priority for in these cases is to 'seek immediate assurance that the students of the school are safe'.

"If that's the case, why didn't someone from the Ministry pick up the phone and talk to the school immediately, instead of meekly waiting for the school to call two days later?

"The Minister continues to dismiss the media's role in first alerting the police and the Ministry to this case, but most would agree that that's not the way the system should run. "


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