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Local Bodies: Whale Oil and Tolley Attacked Principals and Myself

Written By: - Date published: 7:50 pm, September 4th, 2014 - 25 comments
Categories: accountability, education, Politics, schools - Tags: , , , , ,

Reposted from Local Bodies.

Dirty Politics keeps giving and giving and the latest revelation is a possible link between Anne Tolley and Cameron Slater. Anne Tolley was Education Minister when National Standards were first introduced and, as with all education changes under this government, there was no real consultation and the concerns of the profession were ignored. Teachers wanted the system to be trailed first and there was a nationwide protest when this commonsense request was ignored. The National Government legislated the Standards into law which made any refusal to implement the Standards illegal and Tolley threatened to sack boards and principals who did not comply.

Just like Novopay the Standards were introduced half baked while Education Ministry staff desperately tried to create the system as it was in operation. Teachers were forced to attend professional development where the material being presented by facilitators had already been superseded by the constantly changing information online.

Some of the strongest opposition came from Southland principals and there were times when passions resulted in some emotive comments. It did seem odd at the time that any unfortunate throwaway comment made by any Principal made it to national media and the individuals concerned heavily criticized. Cameron Slater obviously had the job of looking out for anything coming out of the schools and principals who attempted to boycott the standards and attack them.

As has been pointed out by many, no individual could keep up the volume of content on Whale Oil without help and the research involved in getting the names and backgrounds of targeted individuals would also be time consuming. It was clear in the emails that supported Hager’s book that the names and backgrounds were being passed on to Slater from Government staff and possibly even Ministers.

When Anne Tolley visited Invercargill in 2011, local Principals were keen to present an open letter to the Minister that expressed their professional concerns about the National Standards. At that time I was  on the executive of the New Zealand Educational Institute and was working part time as a special needs teacher. I had the time to co-ordinate the letter and collect the signatures of the 12 principals involved. Unfortunately I was unable to present the letter in person due to reasonable objections from the school being visited, so it was then sent to Anne Tolley’s office and the Southland Times.

The Southland Times contacted the Minister for her comments and although I wasn’t a signatory and had no personal contact with her it was me she attacked not the Principals. Tolley refused to engage with the content of the letter and claimed it was just a political stunt from myself as a Green Party and NZEI executive member (as if all the Invercargill principals were under my influence). I regularly had letters published in the Southland Times and the Listener that were critical of the Government’s education policies and it was clear that I was an identified activist.

Two years later I happened to make a comment critical of Charter Schools on the Whale Oil blog and shortly afterwards Slater put up a post identifying me as a member of NZEI’s National Executive and including a derogatory comment regarding my character. I find it hard to believe that Slater himself had the time to research each person who provided a contrary view to his own unless he already had some outside support and the names at hand.


Dave Kennedy (bsprout) is a blogger, teacher, and the Green’s candidate for Invercargill.

25 comments on “Local Bodies: Whale Oil and Tolley Attacked Principals and Myself ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Dave. I expect that you have read Kelvin Smythe’s column about that Tolly/MOE/Slater link?

  2. AmaKiwi 2

    Another question is, “How many additional Nat MPs used Slater to destroy their opponents?”

    This now qualifies as a criminal conspiracy.

  3. Inky 3

    That’s just appalling. This is New Zealand. I may be wrong here but I was under the impression it wasn’t a facist state. I thought it was a democracy, where you had the right to pop your head up over the parapet and disagree with Government policies without the likelihood of a hidden sniper blasting it off your shoulders. My god, if this lot retain power, our freedom’s buggared.

  4. Thanks for reposting this but one small correction, I’m the candidate for the Invercargill electorate. I have actually just returned from a School Trustees Association candidates’ forum and it was interesting that the only candidates present were from Labour and the Greens. I thought education would be one of the biggest priorities for this election.

  5. adam 5

    Wow, looked on whale oil, because of this post and there is about 6 or 7 people who support him. I’m shocked there was that still that many deluded people in NZ.

  6. reason 6

    Tolley has always struck me as a crusher wanabe and side kick.

    Bennet too has played their game releasing private details of people she wanted to attack…… back in the early days as she recreated WINZ into her own house of pain.

    Key has a lot to answer for, the national party and parliament has turned into a rats nest under his leadership.

  7. Jrobin 7

    Thanks Dave. This government want to eliminate protest and real education. Critical thinking will be eliminated if they get back in. Depoliticised education is just robotics for compliant workers. Vote them out!

  8. Having dealt with slater for a few years now, it is no surprise he was happy to be Tolleys attack dog on national standards. He is filled with hate when it comes to teachers, and gleefully attack them at every opportunity. He puts himself forward as informed, yet says amazingly stupid, disproved things when it comes to education an how kids learn.

    I truly hope national is defeated at the election for the sake of our children and their educational hopes. And if slater is taken down as well because of the truth being out in the public all the better for nz.

  9. Hone Tibble 9

    a list that continues to grow. I am a fan of charter schools having been involved with Tu Toa and seen the number of applications applying under that and the newer remodeled version. For Maori it provides the opportunity to use a framework outside of the norm to improve maori education. Tu Toa, Nga Taiatea and kura Hourua in Whangarei are cases in point. Their achievement standards exceed those from mainstream schools.

    • We should be able to do the same thing with our current public school system because they are actually Charter Schools anyway, in that they are independently managed, have a charter and can construct a curriculum and teaching style that best meets the needs of the students.

      We shouldn’t need to introduce another model that can pay teachers anything they like, employ non qualified and registered teachers, make a profit that does not have to be fed back into the school and be outside of the OIA in terms of accountability…

      Rather then introduce a system that may succeed but also has a higher chance of failing why don’t we just improve the system we have so that all schools deliver the best for our kids.

      • greywarbler 9.1.1

        @ Dave Kennedy
        It is weird to have charter schools with such open opportunities for graft, mistakes, sexual predators, etc. When Maori were found to be doing something not quite right in their schools, colleges, they were put through the mincing machine. Yet the gates are open to charter schools run by nearly anyone who has a good line. So what’s behind this? Are we going to get Rymans etc going into running schools as the market for old peoples homes dries up? A nice diversification by a private company into government business. With all the hoopla about how they can do it more efficiently etc etc.

      • Hone Tibble 9.1.2

        hmmmm, one can only wish that mainstream could deliver for all our maori students. Unfortunately the statistics show that the current system isnt working. So kura kaupapa, a iwi and maori charter schools are delivering for maori so why wouldnt we, 100 odd years for mainstream to sort it out surely is enough.

        There will always be the occassional hiccup in maori education but they are still delivering higher than mainstream.

        My experience in being at the start of Tu Toa was no teacher salaries for the first year, no support from MOE, Correspondence School providing the curriculum and minimal teacher support then the rest of us finding other work to pay our bills. After 7 years of successful NCEA results and resistance from mainstream schools funding from MOE. Waiting for mainstream schools to adjust would take too long.

      • Halcyon 9.1.3

        Actually you definition of a Charter School sounds like it comes from the NZEI garbage. International experience shows that Charter Schools can provide niche education for students that main stream schools are failing. In most cases, rather than taking a profit, the organisation running the school are pouring additional funds into providing the education for the kids.

        And sometimes the best teachers are not necessarily those who are registered with the Teachers Council. Remember, teaching is a function of relationship. The old adage is very true. “They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know”.

        • dv

          “International experience shows that Charter Schools can provide niche education for students that main stream schools are failing. In most cases, rather than taking a profit

          Citations please.

  10. ropata 10

    i thought redbaiter was pretty much the worst RWNJ in NZ but whale surely takes the prize now.

    • lprent 10.1

      Redbaiter never struck me as being anything but rather politically and economically wrong-headed. From his online personality, I can’t imagine him as being anything like as despicable in his actions as Cameron Slater is.

  11. fambo 11

    It’s starting to look like Slater was being systematically being used by a significant part of the National Government’s cabinet as part of its normal operations.

    • Rich 11.1

      yes, but if you pay for a resource you don’t want to under-utilise it.

      Another instruction that has obviously come from the holidaying Hawaiian.

  12. millsy 12


    DO you think education provision should be privatised?

    Do you think creationism should be taught in our schools?

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