Key should appoint new Minister after Salisbury consultation
14 February 2013
Key should appoint new Minister after Salisbury consultation sham
John Key must remove Hekia Parata as Education Minister after revelations the Government signed off on plans to close Salisbury School for girls a year before Ms Parata embarked on a sham three month consultation over its future, the Green Party said today.
Salisbury Residential School has written to John Key asking him to appoint someone other than the Education Minister Hekia Parata to determine the future of the school for girls with severe intellectual and physical disabilities.
“They say Hekia Parata can’t be trusted to make an unbiased decision over the school’s future after her decision to close it was ruled unlawful, but I’d take that further. She has proven herself unable to be trusted with her entire portfolio,” Green Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“Official documents show the previous Education Minister signed off on a process to merge Salisbury with Hallswell School, and create one national residential school for children with intellectual disabilities,13 months before Hekia Parata approached Salisbury to consult on its future. It was a further three months before Ms Parata said she had ‘decided’ to close the school.
“All along Hekia Parata has pretended to have an open mind about the schools, but these documents, filed in the High Court, show that Salisbury never stood a chance. The consultation was a sham.
“That comes on top of the High Court ruling last year that Ms Parata’s decision to close Salisbury in August 2012 was unlawful because neither she nor her Minister considered the risks to Salisbury’s girls if the school was merged with a residential boys school.
“The Green Party believes in free, inclusive, public education, where all children’s needs can be met in their own community, but only if they can be safe.
“Hekia Parata’s treatment of Salisbury’s incredibly vulnerable students has been proven morally and legally wrong and the decision process has been tainted by her unwillingness to listen, or put the welfare of children first.
“It is inconceivable that Hekia Parata can make an objective decision on Salisbury or stay as education Minister.
“This is the same Minister who botched up over class sizes, failed to listen to or respect the children and schools of Christchurch, wants untrained teachers in schools and signed off on Novopay going live.
“Young people need a Minister who backs them and a free, strong public education system,” Mrs Turei said.