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Minister refuses to answer basic questions

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

13 December 2007

Minister refuses to answer basic questions

Education Minister Chris Carter’s stubborn refusal to answer parliamentary questions on the way his Ministry and the Hato Paora school board handled allegations of serious sexual abuse against its principal speaks volumes about the mess he’s got himself into, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

“After happily commenting for weeks about the way the matter was dealt with, he is now hiding behind the excuse that the issues are sub judice.

“The real reason for his silence after four weeks of commentary is that his version of events has begun to unravel.

“I have repeatedly asked him if he stands by his statement in the House that Hato Paora ‘did all the things it was supposed to do’ when investigating the allegations.

“His standard answer is ‘this matter is currently before the court. A full police investigation into the matter is under way.’

“The answer is nonsense. Let’s be clear. I have not been asking him about the court case, I have been asking him about the process used by the board, the role his Ministry played in that, and whether or not the school passed on all the complaints to Child, Youth, and Family.

“I am reiterating my call for an inquiry into how this matter was handled by the school and the Ministry. The Minister might be disinterested in ensuring his Ministry and schools follow a proper process when faced with serious allegations, but he’s on his own.

“To not call for a thorough investigation to confirm proper processes were used is a dereliction of his Ministerial duty.”


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