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Minister must apologise for CHCH school shambles

14 September 2012

Minister must apologise for CHCH school shambles

The Canterbury community deserves an apology for the shambolic way information on the future of its schools was released yesterday, PPTA president Robin Duff says.

Confusion and misinformation was rife after Education minister Hekia Parata insisted on making a grand announcement before fully briefing schools and sector representatives, Duff said.

“Information around the future of education in Canterbury is far too sensitive to be dumped on people at a public meeting and far too important to rely on a media embargo. It created the perfect media storm to which the sector was in no position to respond. We had devastated members contacting us and no idea what to tell them because we were not due to be briefed until 6pm last night.

“It was an exercise in arrogance that has seriously backfired.”

Duff said affected schools should have been quietly briefed at least the day before the announcement and the media clearly informed after that.

“Minister Parata should have taken a leaf from Trevor Mallard’s book. For all his faults he always made sure teachers, school boards and staff knew of big decisions first so they could take that information back to their parent communities. The secretary for education would then brief the unions so they could assist with clarification and provide support for members,” he said.

“The secrecy, confusion and misinformation has done nothing more than add further stress to a community that has already been through enough trauma. Canterbury schools and communities deserve better than this.

All good change management practice seems to have been jettisoned in favour of a political PR exercise,” he said.


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