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Please explain, Minister

Chris Hipkins
Associate Education Spokesperson

17 August 2012

Please explain, Minister

The Education Minister Hekia Parata needs to explain exactly how her office came to know where teachers who wrote to her in a private capacity worked, says Chris Hipkins, Labour’s associate Education spokesperson.

“Hekia Parata denies asking her staff to track down the employment details of concerned teachers who contacted her over her botched plan to increase class sizes.

“I’m willing to take her at her word – but only if she can tell the public how it was that her responses to those concerned teachers came to be sent to the schools where they worked

“Does the Minister have an encyclopaedic knowledge of every teacher and every school off the top of her head? Did her staff spend hours trawling through public information trying to match the names from correspondence with media reports from school sports days?

“Or did her office type the names of those teachers bold enough to challenge her ill-considered class sizes policy into an official database and match them up with the schools they are employed at?

“And while she is answering those questions, perhaps she could also tell us why it was acceptable for her to take private correspondence from teachers and reply to it via their school Boards of Trustees.

“As Education Minister Hekia Parata should be modelling the best of behaviour for students, teachers and parents. Instead it looks very much like she is prepared to intimidate and bully anyone who challenges her,” says Chris Hipkins.


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