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Longstone pay-out down to Hekia

Chris Hipkins
Education Spokesperson

5 March 2013

Longstone pay-out down to Hekia

Taxpayers have Hekia Parata to thank for the $425,000 bill for Lesley Longstone’s early departure as boss of the Ministry of Education, says Chris Hipkins, Labour’s Education spokesperson.

“Lesley Longstone was only in the job as Chief Executive of the Ministry Education for 13 months, but she is walking away with a golden handshake of close to half-a-million-dollars. It is outrageous.

“The Government claims the relationship between Lesley Longstone and Hekia Parata had broken down. Well, $425,000 dollars would have paid for a hell of a lot of relationship counselling.

“The truth is this had very little to do with whether or not the Minister and her Chief Executive could play nicely together – that was just a convenient cover story.

“In reality, Lesley Longstone took the fall for Hekia Parata’s incompetence, and National’s unpopular policies. Taxpayers are paying a hefty price, just so that National has someone else to blame for the Government’s stuff-ups in education.

“The Government’s education woes have been entirely of its own making - from increasing class sizes, to signing off on Novopay when it had 142 known faults and being over-ruled in the courts about the closure of Salisbury School.

“Today’s pay-out is complete slap in the face to the thousands of school staff who are still waiting to be paid what they are owed by Novopay. It is galling to see so much money wasted on a severance payment when schools are still waiting for proper Government support to compensate them for the costs of the Novopay debacle.

“Hekia Parata has cost taxpayers $425,000 today. It is just a shame that she is not the one getting the golden handshake,” says Chris Hipkins.

ENDS

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