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Longstone resignation

Written By: - Date published: 12:18 pm, December 19th, 2012 - 56 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata - Tags: , ,

From Vernon Small:

Education secretary quits

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie says he has accepted the resignation of the Secretary for Education Lesley Longstone.

She was appointed to the role in November last year for a five-year term. …

There have been a series of difficulties at the ministry which has been under fire over the Novopay payroll debacle, the Christchurch schools merger and closure consultation process, the court-ordered u-turn of the closure of Nelson’s Salisbury school and the blunder and backdown over increased class sizes.

Can’t say that I blame Longstone for bailing, she was working for a Minister who is clearly well out of her depth. Early versions of Small’s article mentioned conflict with Parata (that seems to have been deleted now). Another fail for Hekia Parata, she’s the one that should be going.


56 comments on “Longstone resignation”

  1. Mike Boon 1

    I’m picking that National will hope and hope that we will all ‘forget’ over the Christmas break and they can get on with wrecking things when parliament gets back… I believe Foss will go before Hekia. The National spin machine led by Joyce & Key et. al. really love their weasel words and Parata is so very, very good at talking for hours without ever saying anything. An ideal National mouth. She needs to go but I doubt very much that she will. Accountability for blundering is one of the major missing links in this current government. You only have to look at John Banks’ survival this year for the benchmark.

    • Peter 1.1

      Why Foss?

      • Mike Boon 1.1.1

        because he’s not Hekia… I reckon she was hand-picked by the Joyce/Key spin machine… You know how much they hate to be proven wrong… or admit fault… or take responsibility… etc etc

  2. CnrJoe 2

    the gift that keeps giving should go?

  3. Kevin Welsh 3

    Wonder how much the golden handshake is…

  4. marsman 4

    I read somewhere that Longstone was involved in establishing Charter Schools in England. The Nats obviously brought her here in order to ram through their Charter School Scam. Who will they get in to do that now? Rebstock? Bazely?

    • Morrissey 4.1

      “…to ram through their Charter School Scam. Who will they get in to do that now? Rebstock? Bazely?”

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    It’s back to Hogwarts for Longstone then and slowly onwards to eventual ignominy for Lady Gardiner.

  6. freedom 6

    Who is now going to front up on Cambell Live. The Minister ? Ha!

  7. Lesley Longstone’s resignation recognizes that appointing someone, who has no institutional knowledge of our education system, to introduce flawed ideology is doomed to failure. Longstone is a bureaucrat who was tasked implementing policy with little hope of success and it is my bet that her replacement in the role will also be an import. No one from within in New Zealand, who really understands education, would seriously consider it!

  8. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 8

    Another overseas appointee gone. There was someone else recently also. I can’t remember her name. Does a name come to mind to anyone ?

    It is my contention that many appointments these days are made with the principle requirement that they are well versed in information technology and in changing systems from personal services to doing most on line. This in preference to getting someone with a ‘passion’ for doing well in their particular specialty. And it is a lucrative international scam where people have a name for being ‘the goods’ revolve around governments owned by large business which no longer look to get people who serve the people’s real needs and interests.

    Interesting that the MOE suggested that the Christchurch council hand over information on school closure to them, and then simply turn down the information requester. These national government departments and executives are conducting personal fiefdoms with ever less interest in serving and hearing what people want.

    People will come up with good ideas and discussion if given some scenarios and asked if they have any suggestions as to their preference and how they could be done better. They will soon find the holes and recognise the good points and their ideas have to be listed and then discussed to gain majority agreement. That’s how to consult effectively.

    • veutoviper 8.1

      It was Janet Grossman who quit in June 2012 after less than a year as head of WINZ.


      • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 8.1.1

        Thanks veutoviper 
        I knew it wasn’t long ago.  
        Here are some interesting features about her background that underlines the importance of IT background to appointees, not intimate and deep knowledge of the nature of their area of employment.

        <blockquote>The project to set up the Work and Income’s public self-service kiosks began before Grossman started, but the development and rollout was finalised in October, on her watch. Major security flaws allowed public access to corporate and private information for 1432 individuals. The ministry is conducting four employment investigations following a report into the privacy breaches. 

        But Labour welfare spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said if Grossman did receive the $97,000, it would be an extremely costly appointment on top of headhunting and relocating her.  (There was an allowance of up to $50,000 for relocating expenses.)

        (It makes a joke of how women applying for jobs at the coalface strike negative comments about whether they might leave to have children.  These trough feeders can nobly give their all for a short time, and finding it unsuitable or if hubby gets a good job offer elsewhere, leave early with a heap of money.    You get it every which way.) 

        Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle would not provide a breakdown of the $97,000 payment. He said five senior managers left this year and it would be “extremely presumptuous to assume” it went to one person.</blockquote>

        Perhaps the State Services Commission need to have a change of bums on seats as well as the Ministry of Education chess players, who need to get used to getting alongside real people.  There is big money in human resources.  I think that the huge salaries that are offered are actually a moral hazard to ensure the business remains bloated in its rewards for everyone.

        Can’t work out the editing. There is a change to my edit window with icons presented within it. Using blockquote didn’t work. There was no paragraphing that I put in either. I’m seeing quite a few sets of – ampersand n b s p ; except they are consecutive within the text.

  9. karol 9

     The latest version on Stuff by Tracy Watkins et al, mentions a strained relationship with Parata:
     Secretary of Education Lesley Longstone has been forced to quit over a strained relationship with Education Minister Hekia Parata.
    Longstone’s resignation, which could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, will raise questions about how long Parata can remain in the portfolio, after a series of blunders.
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie confirmed today had accepted the resignation.
    The decision for her to quit was made two to three weeks ago, he said.
    “The last six months have been especially challenging.

  10. fabregas4 10

    She will not be missed. I have always believed and continue to do so that the role of the Secretary for Education is to provide a buffer for political ideology and what is best for education. Of course Longstone was not appointed to a government that would have allowed this to get in the way of their dismanteling of public education and chose someone who would follow their party line but it is quite clear that a better Secretary, a stronger one, a more knowledgeable and able one, could have and should have got in the way of the self foot shooting party to ensure that our kids were served well.

    It is a lesson for all Ministers to pick someone who actually knows something about the job and who they trust to tell them when they are doing dumb things. And that they should take the time to listen.

    Wonder if Longstone ever managed to get to a school?

  11. ruup 11

    Hope the don’t pay her via NOVAPAY

    • bad12 11.1

      Interesting that you should mention the No-pay people, one rumor doing the rounds at the moment is that the Parliament is also paid using the Novopay system,
      Anyone clued up on this??? sure as hell don’t hear of any big f**k-ups with the pay of that lot….

    • Craig Glen viper 11.2

      Hope they do.

  12. irascible 12

    Interesting that the comments in this blog http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/lesley-longstone-management-style.html have been demonstrated to have come true very quickly.

  13. Fortran 13

    Great – a win win for the Teachers.
    Now let’s get Parata, and give her a political lesson she will not forget.

    • Craig Glen viper 13.1

      I dont think any teachers want to give politicians a political lesson. Teachers are to busy doing a thankless job with limited resources to worry about creating more learning oportunities for politicians. The issue here is not Teachers or the Unions doing anything, this is stupid policy being implemented by a stupid National Government who have no bloody idea about how education works and they are making a bloody mess of it. Teachers use to get paid before No Pay came along! Its time for National to start taking some resposibility for its stuff ups, no blaming anyone else its personal responsibilty time its National’s “watch” its time for National to start fronting up, no more hiding like the last election.

  14. Treetop 14

    Longstone is the first of many government appointees who will walk due to her job being untenable when it comes to there being a so called budget surplus in 2014/2015.

  15. higherstandard 15

    Moron, good riddance, now Parata should fuck off.

    Put Ryall in to sort it out.

  16. Mary 16

    Now, if the Labour Party had a modicum of opposition in them they’d use this as an example to say how toxic, nasty and underhand this government is. They’d make links to Key’s lies through convenient brain fades and the screeds of other ideologically driven nasties and begin to start showing the public the reality of what this government’s about.

    But I have no confidence that Labour can do this. The Greens may get close, but there’s no guarantee. Hone will hit the nail on the head by joining all the dots but the problem with Hone is that while he tells the truth nobody listens to him. Labour need to learn how to be an opposition party but I’m afraid they’re just not up to it. I blame their lightweight advisers but what ever the reason is Shearer might make some lame remarks along the lines of “we need to ensure that this never happens again” then for Key and his mates it’ll be business as usual. Pathetic, just pathetic.

    • ScottGN 16.1

      Actually Hipkins and Turei have moved pretty smartly on this today, both of them have been loudly demanding that Parata resign. Key has been forced to issue a statement expressing confidence in his minister.

      • bad12 16.1.1

        That will be the second time in 2 weeks that Slippery has ‘expressed His confidence’ in the Minister, what was a promise from the prime Minister worth again???…

        • ScottGN

          John Key’s word isn’t worth jack. The government has managed this departure in the most depressingly cynical way possible. According to Rennie Longstone’s resignation was decided 2 weeks ago, which, had it been announced at the time would have allowed this issue to be debated in the final session of parliament. Instead the whole thing’s been deliberately delayed until the week before Christmas and the Minister can’t comment because she’s on fucking holiday!

      • Mary 16.1.2

        Sure, but they’re not using this as an example of the toxic agenda this government has overall. They need to learn how to join the dots but their advisers don’t have the nous.

  17. onsos 17

    In the realm of magical thinking that dominates cabinet, this will be viewed as a positive step. For those of us who would like to see this government fail, because most everything it succeeds at is disastrous for the people of the country, we can only hope that Key backs Perata all the way.

    For the honchos in cabinet, government is a matter of will. Through will power and the power of positive thinking, everything will come right. This is the MO for Key, who is consistently pushing English to push the same message. It’s not just electoral politics that sees them making outlandish predictions (there will be a surplus, the asset sales will proceed according to schedule, unemployment will decline, etc.). They actually think that their very belief in these things, and their belief in themselves, can make it happen.

    It is no surprise that the two fancied contenders (Collins and Joyce) exemplify this same trait, as do the favoured bulldozers (Brownlee and Bennett). Tolley was rewarded for this nonsense, and Perata has talked the game throughout. It doesn’t matter that she has been wrong, and she has failed to do what she is told.

    Longstone will now be construed as somebody who lacked the will power to carry out policy. The other option for Key would be to question his own beliefs, which is not allowed, or his judgement in backing Perata, which is not allowed either.

    On the bright side, Perata is incapable of getting anything done — making her the best minister in government — and she is a total electoral liability. As the opposition calls for her sacking, they must be careful not to call too loud; the last thing we want is for her actually to be replaced.

    • Northshoreguynz 17.1

      Part of me wants to agree, the other parts wants an MOE focused on teaching and learning.

    Yes?  No?

    Have your say……


    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

  19. Flossy 19

    Wasn’t the conflict in part that the Secretary was sandwiched between an “underperforming” Deputy Secretary for Performance and Change and her sister, the Minister?

  20. Populuxe1 20

    Whatever happened to ministerial accountability? Dumping on the flunkies is shameful.

  21. bad12 21

    There’s still big trouble in store for Hekia in the New Year, involved also may be Longstone, depending just how far up the food chain the investigation goes into who advised the Christchurch City Council to lie to those in the education sector who had requested under the auspices of the Official Information Act information they believed the City Council held on the closure of schools in that city,

    What ‘is known’ is that someone in the Ministry of Education gave the advise to lie to the City Council,

    What isn’t known is just WHO gave the order for such advice, illegal, to be passed to the Christchurch City Council,

    You have to wonder whether Longstone has been given Her 30 pieces of silver and advised to scarper in an effort by the Slippery National Government to in effect short-circuit the investigation…

  22. North 22

    Stuff online poll: Should Parata resign ?

    Yes 85.6%

    No 14.4%

  23. Chris Oden 23

    How much is parata being paid to be such an abject and abysmal failure in her position as moe.AND she will be getting a raise with backpay for the privilege of being one of NZs most useless and unintelligent ministers of all times.
    She should be sacked! But that will not happen because our latest you tube star and part time prime minister has blessed her with his “con fidence” Ergo, she is safe. key will be using his usual just wait and they(us) will forget in a week. It will be sweet. No one doubts me and my “popularity” Everyone adores me so if I say you’re ok then that is what the masses will believe.So just go on holiday with your big raise and back pay and don’t give a thought to the masses.They don’t matter.They are purely incidental!
    Now, must get back to my real passion, being the biggest twit on the airwaves you will ever hear. God! I love me!!
    Tedious little man!!

  24. Dv 24

    Langstone resigned because she had a communication break down with Parata.

    Translation, Parata doesnt speak English.

    • veutoviper 24.1


      Your comment reminded me of this great comment under the Audrey Young article on the Herald on whether Parata should resign –

      “Perhaps Hekia can consult her contingency plan to facilitate transition options”.

      • Rhinoviper 24.1.1

        “Perhaps Hekia can consult her contingency plan to facilitate transition options”.

        Oh God, I understood that. Pray for me.

  25. saarbo 25

    Parata used her childhood experience in large class sizes to justify increasing the ratio of Children to Teachers. Paraphrase “When I went to school on the East Coast I was in classes with over 40 children and look at me”

    Well, given her catastrophic cock ups, MOE now have very clear proof that large class sizes lead to extreme narcissism, inability to understand questions, bad judgement, inability to answer questions with any clarity, having an elevated opinion of your own abilities, a blame mentality………

  26. Georgecom 26

    Longstone had to go.

    Her relationship with Parata had deteriorated
    She was involved in the class size spanking the Government took and, I would pick, has little idea about the implications of Paratas decision
    She was involved in the Christchurch school closure debacle
    She was part of the Novopay disaster
    She was on deck when the Government was forced to back down over the closure of Salisbury School
    She tried to front foot the introduction of charters schools,which had failed overseas to remedy education underachievement and isn’t needed in NZ.

    However, the person who created all these problems for her needs to go as well, Hekia Parata.

    Longstone inherited the shonky and bungled National Standards policy. That goes back to Tolleys failure
    Tolley also presided over the initial development of Novopay
    Parata was the person behind the class size policy
    Parata lead the Christchurch school closure debacle
    Parata was the Minsiter when the Salisbury School closure was overturned in the courts
    Parata was the Minister, alogn with Banks, responsible for bringing in Charter Schools.
    Parata set the tone for her relationship with Longstone, not vice versa.

    Longstone gone, Parata has to be next. Her failure to front on this issue has seen the total destruction of her credibility within 12 months.

  27. Chris Oden 27

    Not only parata should go but key should go also. I am sick and tired of this effing sideshow that is key. He has made a laughing stock of our Parliamentary system aided and abetted by media who are equivalent to a dog lying on its back waiting for rub on its tummy.
    Oh! and also, Bouncy Paula, waste of a large amount of space. What have these people achieved Just the total ripping out of the heart and soul of New Zealand.
    Their platitudes about “or kids””our children” are so false they are laughable coming from these overfed, overdressed, overmadeup so called CARING women that it is an insult to all real women out in the Community doing the jobs that these abysmal apologies for womenhood should be addressing.
    Shame on parata and bennett.They are not Honourable.

  28. AwakeWhileSleeping 28

    Parata, the invisible minister.

  29. North 29

    It’s now a virtual convention (seemingly without notoriety ???) that whenever the shit hits the fan our “leaders”, the PM, cabinet ministers, the backwoodsmen sitting behind them…….all run for cover.

    Morning Report and “the bird…..”. How well we know it.

    Morning Report and “the minister was not available for comment”. How well we know it.

    These are the people who in poses from near malice to vacuous vivacity exhort us to perform all the things that make Planet Key great – responsibility, accountability, manning-up, owning your shit.

    My God.

  30. tracey 30

    Rememver the decision to cut diplomats and how the ceo, not the minister took the fall…. Major pattern

  31. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 31

    There was a comment at 7.12 a.m. on Radionz on Longstone. –
    According to Teacher Education Professor John O’Neill at Massey University, the Secretary for Education Lesley Longstone lacked a crucial understanding of New Zealand’s education sector.

    He also made the point that she seemed to be aligned to the government’s education privatisation direction. So when the advice that government gets from its supposed impartial and widely experienced and objective civil servants is actually slanted from the beginnings, it’s no wonder we are running around in ever decreasing circles until we reach paralysis and are frozen in mid-speech.

    Couple that to a new entrant to cabinet from the aggressively ambitious women rookies who are picked because they are bright, fluent and as good in a scrum as a bloke, then we don’t get sober reflection and desire to serve the people well. It’s self-advancement, serve the party and get promotion and what are oodles of money compared to your average josephine.

  32. Dv 32

    Just listened to a Canterbury principal who is trying to appoint staff to replace staff leaving. Cant appoint permanent because of the uncertainty.
    (He also said that staff changes had increases in problems with NovaPay and thinks problems will continue for several months.)

    Where is the Minister?
    On holiday and getting a pay rise!!

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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago