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Parata and the Christchurch schools

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, February 18th, 2013 - 73 comments
Categories: Hekia parata, national, schools - Tags: , ,

As widely reported, Chirstchurch schools find out their fate today. Parata is due to speak at noon, but some decisions are known already with stuff announcing that at least four schools will be merged.

This is going to be a difficult and traumatic process for the schools and their communities – my heart goes out to them. I also have some sympathy for the government in this position. Clearly some restructuring was necessary in the wake of population shifts after the quakes.

But the Nats have bungled the process at all stages, made it much worse than it needs to be. Hekia Parata is so damaged that she can’t credibly front the process – in a recent poll 59% believe that Key was wrong to keep her on in the portfolio. (This has lead some to suggest, and Key to deny, that she has been kept on simply as “cannon fodder” so that no other minister gets damaged in this process.)

I will update this with further news and reaction in the afternoon.

Update: Seven schools to close, twelve to merge. The Herald has details.

73 comments on “Parata and the Christchurch schools”

  1. geoff 1

    This is endgame National we are in the thick of. They’re just trying to ram through as much right wing policy as they can before the country gives them the flick in 2014.

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      Who is going to give them the flick? Latest poll has National up 5 to 49%. Labour and Greens both down 2%. Key up 5% and Captain Mublefuck unchanged at 15%.

      Wow! I am sooooo impressed.

      • Jilly Bee 1.1.1

        Me too AmaKiwi, now if Hekia Parata was PM, she and Captain MF would make a good debating pair – it would level the playground a bit. I was watching HP being interviewed by John Campbell this evening.

  2. fenderviper 2

    The whole country needs to hit the streets in protest to support our Chch whanau from this destructive Govt beating them over the head.
    It’s obvious this is driven by ideology when the Govt can’t even wait for census data before making such dramatic changes. When it’s apparent mistakes have been made you can bet only charter schools will be allowed to remedy the situation.

    • AmaKiwi 2.1

      @ fenderviper

      You and me. That makes two people ready to “hit the streets.”

      I am despairing of how much sh*t people put up with and barely a whimper.

  3. David H 3

    And watching the Press conference, the one thing that immediately grabbed my attention was her Eyebrows, Who painted them on Blind Pugh?? the left one is higher than the right and they make her look like the clown she is

    • fenderviper 3.1

      She is a clown imo and it has nothing to do with her eyebrows or her runway clothing. Her boss is also a clown but it seems 49% want a clown running New Clownland, where’s my cyanide pill!

      • Tim 3.1.1

        Leave the cyanide pill well alone. In the scheme of things, its a temporary abhoration [Oh fuck – I forgot how to spell it] . It’s not you that needs the cyanide anyway.
        We’re just seeing history repeat and needless to say the lessons of the past didn’t get learned.
        Just get out and vote and tell friends and family to do likewise. And IF there’s a repeat – well … they got the representation and predicament they find themselves in.
        I’m actually contemplating a move to a poverty-stricken part of India if there’s a NAct re-election – strange as it may seem, I’m confident of a lifestyle and mental-wellbeing improvement.

        • Wayne 3.1.1.1

          This is a fundamental problem with the contributors to this site. You haven’t yet worked out why John Key has the appeal that he has.

          New Zealanders know he is very smart; not as an intellectual like Helen, but in a more business like way. That is why he can quickly sum up most issues and communicate the essence of them in a way that most New zealanders can easily understand.

          In interviews he is very rarely grasping for facts; he sounds knowledgable and authoritative – the Kim Dotcom interviews were a rare exception. Now I know people on this site will dispute this, but this is how most New Zealanders see it.

          On top of that he comes across as natural and relaxed, a guy you could have a drink with (wine or beer depending on your inclination). He can do this even though he obviously works exceptionally hard and has huge pressures on him (as with all PM’s). The item on Seven Sharp where he says he has cold baked beans from a can sometimes in the evening is not the sort of thing you make up. As Chris Trotter said it seemed important – it tells you something of the sheer focus of the man.

          He comes across as always being able to keep his composure, not matter how tough the issue.

          Up to you to work out his appeal in a way that does not insult the majority of New Zealanders who support him. People hate being told they are wrong; more particularly they hate being told their choices are stupid, because they read that as being told they are stupid. Why would anyone vote for a Party that has just told them they are stupid.

          • North 3.1.1.1.1

            The New Prophet you reckn wayne ?

            • Wayne 3.1.1.1.1.1

              More a statement that if you under-estimate your opponents, you are not likely to be able to get the better of them. Or stop insulting the majority of New Zealanders who think he does a good job; try and understand why they think he is successful.

              • Hi Wayne,

                Putting aside whether or not John Key is accurately described in the way you suggest, do you think those reasons are reasonable grounds for voting for a Prime Minister? (e.g., that one could comfortably enjoy a drink with someone)

                Also, on what basis do you think that New Zealanders judge that he “sounds knowledgeable and authoritative” or that he is “very rarely grasping for facts”? Is the basis for such judgments sound?

                I know that ‘perceptions matter’, but you’re point appears to be different – that New Zealanders are, in fact, making relevant, sound and correct judgments about Key and so should not be considered ‘stupid’ (or, less harshly, wrong) in those judgments.

                • Wayne

                  Being affable is a bonus in a Prime Minister. It is not an essential ingredient, but it does help their popularity.

                  The essential point I was I was making is that to most New Zealanders he is competently in charge. Actually that is seen to be the hallmark of his government.

                  Obviously not everything goes to plan, but things follow a reasonably predictable path. People have an overall sense of how the government will operate, and what its broad priorities are. It might be a bit “middle of the road”, but in uncertain times that is seen as a virtue. It is not a radical shift to the right as this site frequently alleges.

                  Now clearly this is my view, you may differ, but I suggest that is what a large percentage of New Zealanders think after a bit over four years. It is reasonable for them to be able to make such a judgement; the evidence comes from the four years experience of the government.

                  On radio and TV he is readily available. Occasionally he might kid around, but generally he is there to answer questions. In this respect he does so, doesn’t waffle and the answers are clear and understandable.

                  Overall he looks like he is in charge.

                  • Thanks, Wayne, for your moderately phrased response.

                    I’m very aware that many New Zealanders see Key and his government as ‘authoritative’ and to be acting on the basis of facts, etc. and to be competent.

                    My difficulty, however, is that so often when I look carefully at the ‘facts’ used by John Key and his ministers, or at the claims they make about what the government has achieved and at the general logic of their statements they just don’t hold up to scrutiny.

                    The reason that I find it difficult to accept that the popularity of John Key and this government is well founded is very simple – when I look at the foundations for such a judgment they don’t appear to be there.

                    I agree, Key is good at sounding authoritative and confident in his views, but is that enough?

                    Perhaps my reluctance to agree that Key’s government is doing ok comes across as elitist and condescending towards many New Zealanders. But, as I said, my problem is that I haven’t come across strong reasons or evidence about the performance of this government on the major issues (many of which they claim themselves to be important goals – e.g., lifting people/children out of poverty, creating jobs, improving living standards, making New Zealand a place where more people can flourish and achieve the best they have to offer, and the like) that would support the idea that New Zealand is in good hands or that the current policies are ‘working’.

                    People who sound confident and authoritative are a dime a dozen – perhaps especially in today’s world. But I have never put much store in impressions – that’s too dangerous a game.

                    Instead, I’ve always tried to understand the basis of the confident claims people make before I judge their performance. Sometimes that involves doing boring, time-consuming stuff like finding out what the evidence actually is – but that’s the price I pay for forming beliefs that I feel are justified and can be defended.

                    I never like to be in the situation of simply having to say ‘Well, that’s just my opinion’. My opinion is irrelevant and of no value without the evidence and reasoning behind it.

                    Too often, however, when I’m having arguments about politics with people who support this government, they don’t seem able to provide reasons or evidence for their views. It doesn’t seem clear, even to themselves, why they believe the things they do. They just seem to want to assert, without being challenged, that Key and his government are ‘ok’.

                    That’s not necessarily a problem and I wouldn’t criticise that in and of itself (we don’t all have the time or inclination to inform ourselves about current facts or about the historical experience of societies). But then sometimes they become quite offended by me asking them to provide reasons – almost as if I’m denying their right to have an opinion. What I’m actually trying to do is find out why they think what they think.

                    I’ve had more than one person – at that point in the conversation – start to abuse me. They almost seem to be accusing me of ‘tricking’ them. But I wouldn’t have thought that asking people for the basis of their opinions – or providing the basis for mine – is that much of a smart-arse, unexpected ‘trick’.

                    Or is it?

                    • Wayne

                      Quick reply.

                      People are acting on four years experience. They may not know all the details, but they do have a broad sense of their society. Does it feel like it is basically going forward or back? This is also compared to other countries.

                      So if unemployment goes up a bit, or down a bit, does it feel like a trend. I would say most people would say it could be better, but it could be a lot worse. We seem to be holding our own, with a bit of “grumpy” growth. It is not the early 2000’s, but it seems OK in the circumstances.

                      And for those who are currently supporting the PM, the other side does not look better, in fact the real risk is that they could be worse.

                      So the PM therefore looks OK, and is doing the job expected of him.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yeah that’s quite reasonable. Add to that the occasional fun photo shoot, soundbite and news clip about Key, and even more people will feel comfortable about voting for him.

                      Business As Usual with a more reliable and trustworthy crowd.

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      Puddleglum-an entire wardrobe of defense mechanisms at play in the general population i would suggest

              • aerobubble

                Key policy of tax cuts for the top end, bailed out many who would have taken a bath, and so entrenched the poor economic paradigm that consistent puts downward pressure on wages, forces housing into yet another bubble thanks to scarcity and poor housing design and implementation. As yet more rush for Auckland airport, and wealth estimates made at the top of the cheap oil market cannot sustain boomers into retirement, is it any wonder that desperate people cling onto Key ‘brighter future’.
                Like all politicians whose brand is wrong for the nation, Key will be seen as one
                of our worst PMs, the last of the neo-liberal who, for example, can smoothly and efficiently reconfigure schools in ChCh faster than private insurance can pay out (and so needing a second round of reconfiguring in a few years time) but still can’t pay teachers on time. Desperate people cling to Key’s hopeful laidback approach, he can’t be wrong, he just can’t.

          • Te Reo Putake 3.1.1.1.2

            Oh, Lordy … where to start!

            Ok, for one, I didn’t invent ‘Dunnokeyo’ because the PM “can quickly sum up most issues and communicate the essence of them in a way that most New zealanders can easily understand.”

            Nor because ” In interviews he is very rarely grasping for facts; he sounds knowledgable and authoritative”.

            His apparent drunken/drugged physical state in Parliament is almost Brentlike in its lack of self awareness. And his mangling of the English language and modern courtesy is known worldwide thanks to ‘troty’ and the 3way handshake.

            I agree he’s someone who “comes across as natural and relaxed, a guy you could have a drink with (wine or beer depending on your inclination).” That’s because he started drinking way before you did and is fully relaxed from the getgo.

            And yes he does work exceptionally hard; booking those trips back home to Hawaii must be incredibly draining. Not to mention having to look as if he’s still interested in the job. Lucky he’s got Joyce to do the heavy lifting, eh?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.3

            In interviews he is very rarely grasping for facts; he sounds knowledgable and authoritative

            That’s because the facts have absolutely nothing to do with what he says. In most circles, it’s called lying.

        • AmaKiwi 3.1.1.2

          Am I supposed to tell my neighbors to vote for Labor because Labor’s band of dictators will be better than National’s?

  4. freedom 4

    watched the carefully allocuted speech from the lady who is apparently not cannon fodder, but i did notice how the feed was cut just as the Q&A warmed up?, here is an edited simulation video of Parata’s responses to the questions we did not get to see
    http://gawker.com/5984348/two-minutes-of-nothing-but-goats-yelling-like-humans

  5. Ant 5

    So what’s the difference between closing and “merging”, you’d think at least one of the schools in a merger would have to close…

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      It’s not a closure, it’s a “right-sizing”.

      • Tim 5.1.1

        Can an individual – say for example a politician such as Hekia or Johnky, be ‘rightsized’?

        • fenderviper 5.1.1.1

          A garbage compactor would suffice.

          • Tim 5.1.1.1.1

            Indeed. I’ve often wondered though how to explain some of that ‘right-sized’ ilk not understanding how close to the wind they’re sailing. I guess its arrogance. I’m not of an age where I’m familiar with Mussolini’s Italy, but there are recent example like Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, or Bainimarama’s Fiji, or Pinochet or……
            Its just that I often wonder – more in a mathematical sense – why a growing 99% are supposed to know their place in a Planet Key world.
            Anyway… we’ll see. I’m happy to sit back and watch it all happen – just so long as I’m not expected to feel sympathy IF, and when there’s an eruption.
            Given that I’m intimately aware of infrastructural ‘capability’ – the only explanation I have for a Joyce, Johnky, and an ass-licking, ill-informed congregation, is – well -arrogance, and a master of the universe attitude.
            Why put 4.4 million people though the heartache though! IT just makes then all the more angry when they wake up and have to deal with the idea that they’ve been behaving like masochists

        • Tim 5.1.1.2

          So was Mussolini ‘right-sized’?. Just wondering.
          Reading things, there seem to have been a helluva lot of people that had woken from an intellectual slumber and a day-to-day experience of life as a struggle who were very quick to ascertain where ‘Blame’ was due.

  6. Dv 6

    What is it with Stuff putting pictures of distressed young kids on the front (digital page).
    I wonder if they have permission of the parents and the kids!!!

  7. vto 7

    “Clearly some restructuring was necessary in the wake of population shifts after the quakes. ” Hogwash r0b.

    These were announced while the ground was still shaking and the populations was mid-change. Assessing school requirements due to change before the change had finished changing is a front for other, unexpressed, purposes. This govt of course has history for this blaming earthquakes for their dishonest lies and utlerior motives e.g. Ecan dictatorship.

    Another example of their flawed approach ….. go ask the churches what they are doing about their changed / changing congregations and they will answer…. waiting to see where things end up and the populations end up settling. Try an average of 5 years. In other words, the churches are doing it the right way by waiting to see what the changes are. The government are not waiting, they are just charging ahead before the changes are finished. Doesn’t give on much trust in them, but then who fucking trusts the bastards anyway? Who?

    There is no hurry to change the school system. Why not wait until the change is finished like others? Why try and do this mid-earthquakes? Why the hurry? Why the f…k?

    • grumpy 7.1

      It’s pretty clear where the Red Zones are though.

      With tens of thousands leaving Christchurch and with many schools facing huge repair bills, something had to be done.

      Just waiting for the teacher’s unions to start winding up little kids – wait for the TV news tonight with distraught children bawling their eyes out. The unions should be charged with child cruelty.

      • fenderviper 7.1.1

        The Nats should be charged with child cruelty. fixed it for you chumpy.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        The unions should be charged with child cruelty.

        Hmmmm Parata in her castle a thousand k’s removed from the coal face (and I bet she gets paid correctly every month too) dumps this crisis management on front line Christchurch teachers and principals so you blame them? A bit unfair mate. Since they’re the ones who have been trying to hold this whole system together with yarn and sticky tape.

      • Puddleglum 7.1.3

        It’s pretty clear where the Red Zones are though.

        Halswell??? (Branston) Hoon Hay??? (Manning).

        These closures have far more to do with a network review than a response to earthquakes and population movements. It’s about rejigging state schooling into larger aggregations with ‘economies of scale’. It’s about cutting costs as opposed to providing ’21st century’ education that meets ‘learners’ needs’.

        It’s about doing all of this to the communities who are least able to resist the changes effectively. It’s about exempting schools (e.g., Burnham, Burnside Primary) on the basis of political expediency.

        The ‘little kids’ don’t need teachers’ unions to ‘wind them up’. If you’re not comfortable seeing children feeling upset at what is happening to them as a result of these closures and mergers then don’t support the policies driving them.

        There’s no such thing as a free lunch, grumpy. Children’s lives being up-heavaled and destabilised is the price that is being paid for this restructuring and cost saving.

        Consider how much more bullying, anxiety and stress these children will endure now that they are being herded together in larger schools with wider age ranges and unfamiliar peers. I predict increased incidence of depression, self-harm and anxiety disorders amongst Christchurch schoolchildren, at a minimum.

      • millsy 7.1.4

        I guess you want to ban the PPTA and NZEI then, and lock their leaders up? Just like Hide. Prick.

    • Rogue Trooper 7.2

      the progressive “church” is Very patient indeed

  8. CJA 8

    Let’s put a bit of perspective on this. These schools are being closed mainly due to the fact it’s dangerous to keep them open or it will cost too much to have them repaired. Remember these days money doesn’t grow on trees and isn’t going to just be “printed”. If something happened in one of these schools due to them being reopened inappropriately whose fault is it then I wonder? Reminding some of the commenters here that under Labour 281 schools were closed in 9 years in government. That’s an average of about 31 a year. People seems to have very short memories.

    • fenderviper 8.1

      Yes good idea, get some perspective. It’s well known the state of damage has been severely warped to fudge the perspective.

      • CJA 8.1.1

        Ahhh yes cue the outrage! Better organise a march and make sure you have plenty of children crying on TV so the MSM can put an excellent spin on a very logical and practical situation. Shall I do a Thunderbirds count down for you?

        • Pascal's bookie 8.1.1.1

          What a croc.

          The Government’s arrogance towards parents and good schools has made parents realise they need their own voice. It has shown parents that neither the Education Minister nor the Government will protect their interests.

          Under National, far too many issues are decided in Beehive meetings between National, the Charter school lobbyists and bureaucrats.

          Only an out of touch Education Minister, like Parata, would try to over-ride parents’ interests and choices.

    • shorts 8.2

      Schools were closed under Labour – that doesn’t suggest all here think or thought those closures were right

      There is no simple clear cut perspective being put on of for these closures and merges, plenty of PR spin that is spun, re-spun and then reassembled and spun again

      The schools, the residents effected and the public deserve some clear cut answers and explanations around these decisions – which we’ll never get with these buggerers of simple english

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Schools were closed under Labour – that doesn’t suggest all here think or thought those closures were right

        A few dozen schools were closed by Labour during Clark’s years IIRC.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.3

      “Reminding some of the commenters here that under Labour 281 schools were closed in 9 years in government.”

      Cite? You probably shouldn’t listen to the Young Nats, even if it is the PM retweeting them.

      • CJA 8.3.1

        Quote from a Mr D. Garner actually. From Duncs from those who know him. A well known red man from my recollection.

        • Pascal's bookie 8.3.1.1

          Link?

          It’s the bullshit stat the Young nats tweeted, that the PM RT’d.

          garner might have asked a question about it maybe, and as g=for him being a red. *laughs*

          • CJA 8.3.1.1.1

            http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/directories/6136

            Here you go. Have a sort through the excel spreadsheets.

            • Pascal's bookie 8.3.1.1.1.1

              Lol, so first it was fact, then it was something someone said garner said, now it’s look through these spreadsheets.

              *laughs*

              • CJA

                Provided you with evidence that you’re not willing to look at. Stay blinkered mate. Ignorance is bliss!

                • Pascal's bookie

                  No you didn’t. I asked you for the cite for your claim. Those sheets aren’t one.

                  • CJA

                    Have you clicked on the link? Need to be educated on how to use a spreadsheet? Feel free to say so and I’ll help you out.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      yeah, looked through it.

                      It’s not relevant.

                    • CJA

                      Seems as though I can’t reply to Pascal so I’ll reply to myself. Just on the question of relevance the question I’d ask myself is how can spreadsheets from a government website showing school closures by year not be relevant?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Because they’re unlikely to have Duncan garner in them for one thing.

                      And for another, I bet you are including all sorts of apples in your comparison with national’s orange.

                      Eg, you included voluntary closures didn’t you?

                      And closures based on rigorous data about long term population trends, like up to date census reports and things like that?

                      So, not relevant to the facile comparison you trotted out after hearing it from, somewhere or rather.

                    • CJA

                      Lol to be perfectly honest I reckon you’re just pissed that I found a link that answered your question. Anyway 281 schools closed during Labour’s answered with government data. Enough said. Double fist pump while walking out the door.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Aaand that was the flounce to be ending on.

                      Bye!

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      I’m picking fist pumping is a regular part of CJA’s life 🙄 Though counting to 281 clearly isn’t. This is straight from the PM’s office with a detour via WO’s withered organ.

                    • CJA

                      And yes that’s right make sure you end with a conspiracy theory. Make sure you don’t look at any of the facts or evidence lol.

            • georgecom 8.3.1.1.1.2

              A number of the schools contained in your link were voluntary closures. The viability of some schools was questionable.

              The last Labour Government did do a number of schooling network reviews and closed or merged a number of schools. They learnt the lesson about doing things without community support. Just like National is learning now.

        • Pascal's bookie 8.3.1.2

          Link?

          It’s the bullshit stat the Young nats tweeted, that the PM RT’d.

          garner might have asked a question about it maybe, and as for him being a red. *laughs*

    • millsy 8.4

      The schools are being closed so the wealthy can enjoy tax cuts, plain and simple.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    Noted without comment:

    http://t.co/V134eElZ

  10. AC 10

    It’s not about teachers and jobs but about communities and children. Schools are the hub of any community and a safe place for our children to grow up. This government has done the wrong thing. They know it as well and have chosen chch hoping that people will be too buggered to give a stuff after the last 2 traumatic years.

    • AmaKiwi 10.1

      Our communities don’t have hubs. They are NOT planned by the people of the community. They are designed by people who build shopping malls. They are designed for sales and profits, not human beings. (Apologies. I forgot. We are not human beings. We are work units.)

      • aerobubble 10.1.1

        Official newsspeak censor has been alerted to your disparaging remarks about profit at all costs.

  11. North 11

    Can anyone inform about the affectation of “So” which prefaced every response Idiot Parata gave to Mary Wilson’s every question on Checkpoint shortly after 5.00 pm today ?

    I noticed some months ago it was the same with Dunnokeyo. Every time he opened his mouth in response – “So” “So” “So”. Obviously someone’s told them to do it because it’s pretty meaningless otherwise.

    Is it cynical voice modulation control designed to avoid faltering reactions which might give away the bullshit and the lies ? Sounds bloody stupid whatever it is.

    Maybe they just need a good whipping with their own National Standards. “So whip me Hek So OK John Boy”.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      It also buys time while they organise an answer in their head, and eats up interview time with delay.

    • marsman 11.2

      It’s either ‘so’ or ‘look’, basically they are being patronizing.

    • felixviper 11.3

      You’re right, it’s by design. It’s clearly part of the monkey training.

      The “so” is supposed to suggest that they’ve given thoughtful consideration to the question and that their response is based on reason.

      You don’t get to hear the reasoning, but hearing the “so” makes you think some has occurred.

      Neat eh?

  12. Tombstone 12

    We survived several violent earthquakes that tore our city to pieces and thousands of aftershocks but the greatest disaster to befall this city has been the National Party. Another dark day for us here in Canterbury. I will never forgive National and it’s supporters for what they have done to this city – what total and utter scum. That’s all I have to say.

  13. AC 13

    Agreed some schools had to be closed or merged but the process they used to go about this was flawed and unfair right from the start. A slow motion road crash. The national party couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. Now they say it’s great because only 1% of children are going to be affected. These 1% are some of our most vulnerable and deserve a lot better. As for the NZEI and Schools using children to fight this madness what a load of bull. It’s not about the teachers or about the NZEI it’s about the children and their communities they live in. They at least deserve a say and to have the opportunity to voice their concerns. We are not living in some third world dictatorship where you get shot for expressing your feelings.

  14. millsy 14

    It’s a pity that the Parent Advocacy Council and community education forums were scrapped by the National government in the 1990’s. These were intended to ensure that things like this wouldnt happen, when Tomorrow’s Schools wiped out the regional education boards, and gave all powers to the minister.

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