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Parata bungling inexcusable

Written By: - Date published: 9:36 am, October 3rd, 2012 - 73 comments
Categories: Hekia parata, national, schools - Tags: , , ,

Hekia Parata’s bungling on the proposed closure of Christchurch schools is simply inexcusable. The botched announcement. The colour coded principals. And now this:

Errors in data used for Chch schools revamp

The Education Ministry has admitted it used incorrect data when planning the drastic shakeup of Christchurch schools.

Secretary for Education Lesley Longstone said last night there were errors in data about the number of buildings on school sites, when she was grilled on TV3’s Campbell Live.

“I accept there are three cases, that you have pointed out to us, where the number of buildings is not the right number of buildings. One is a transcription error.”

She put the other mistakes down to “interpretation” of what constitutes a building and that the ministry counted all buildings on Crown land “irrespective” of whether they formed part of a school.

It was a reversal of the response given last month, when a ministry spokesman told The Press: “Schools can have confidence the proposals are based on the best information to hand, which has been drawn from a variety of sources and provided in good faith.”

We’re not talking about minor errors here:

Twenty-two schools believe that they are in trouble. They think the Ministry’s figures are wrong.

For example, the Ministry lists all 50 imaginary buildings at Burnside Primary as having earthquake damage, making the school appear way too expensive to fix. “The Ministry has quoted us $9 million to repair the school,” says Burnside Primary principal Matt Bateman. “Our own figures show that this is grossly inflated and we could have a new school for about half that.”

At Central New Brighton Primary, the Ministry says they have 13 quake-damaged buildings. Two cracks represent the worst of the school’s damage, yet “affected buildings” is one of the main reasons given for this school to merge. … [this is just some of the examples] …

At Ouruhia Model School, they’ve been saddled with nine quake-damaged buildings when they don’t even have nine buildings.

It is a similar story at Greenpark School. They think they have just three buildings. Unless the Ministry is counting the roofless pool changing room shed or the library, which is in fact community, not Ministry-owned. The number of buildings matters because they equate with the amount of money the Ministry says it would cost to fix each school. …

Based on March figures, the Ministry says Linwood Ave only needs 11 classrooms, but they already use 15. Phillipstown has grown 32 students since March, and at Windsor School the roll is up by 75.

Some principals think it’s the Ministry’s agenda to close smaller schools, quake-affected or not, in favour of big schools.

The attack on the social fabric of Christchurch (a city which has already suffered enough at the hands of both nature and National’s contempt for democracy) is already inexcusable. To base such an attack on such abundantly incompetent and incorrect data makes it even worse.

Apologists will claim that this latest fiasco is a Ministry error, not Parata’s. Two responses. First, it is the Nats who are gutting the public sector, making errors like this inevitable. And second, Parata is the Minister in charge. If Ministers (and Prime Ministers) are never responsible for anything, what is the point in having them?


73 comments on “Parata bungling inexcusable”

  1. jaymam 1

    The “experts” who inspected the schools should be forced to go back and walk around the schools with the principals and justify their reports. And the amount of damage should be quantifed – a couple of cracks does not equate to to ruined building.

    • insider 1.1

      I’m not sure they actually did physically inspect them. They probably collated a bunch of reports from a range of different organisations. Errors were always going to happen if that’s the case because it is highly likely a building in one report was identified/categorised differently in another.

    • Georgecom 1.2

      Go back to each school with the data, check the veracity of it and then back to the Ministry office to reanalyse the data. Any school which after the reanalysis is found to eb viable is taken off the closure/merger list, the school notified and a press release issued. All schools that remain on the list are advised of this and the consultation period extended.

  2. King Kong 2

    Imagine what a competent opposition education sopkesman could do with this.

    • Zorr 2.1

      So you’re admitting the NACTs are completely incompetent? Good, glad we can agree on that…

      Saying “opposition education spokesman” suggests that there is only one other member of the house that should be able to take advantage of this – tbh, there are multiple opposition partys and I especially look forward to the Greens skewering the NACTs over this as well…

    • bbfloyd 2.2

      And who is going to report any statements by the labour education spokesperson? Or the ones that have been made allready?? Certainly not those poodles you obviously use reinforce your own version of “planet key” as a world view….

      The fact is that the labour party has been all over this, as you would know if you had the wit, and desire to inform yourself… which, patently you don’t….

      Back to the job raking the sand bunkers on johnny’s personal golf course for you youngster…..

    • insider 2.3

      Let’s check on twitter to see what she’s up to.

  3. framu 3

    “She put the other mistakes down to “interpretation” of what constitutes a building”

    thats sounds like BS to me – im guessing that any building on a school would need a permit to be built

    So surely the number of building can be found via plans and council permits

    which would seem like the correct method from a legal and provable perspective

    Anyone know the specifics?

    • David H 3.1

      Ummm Hekia its one of those funny things you see everywhere, It has walls, a roof ,windows, and even doors and you can even live in them. What do you live in a cave??

    • Plan A – ask the principal of each school how many buildings there are.
      Plan B – send people out to count the buildings. Maybe even get them to confirm with the principal..
      Plan C – create and keep an asset register.
      All of these would have worked, none are particularly difficult.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 3.2.1

        Plan D: leave it to the market.

        They went with Plan D.

        PS: Plan E: release invented figures and wait for people to correct them…

      • framu 3.2.2


        “Plan C – create and keep an asset register.”

        this alone would be required for insurance anyway

  4. shorts 4

    thank goodness for Campbell Live picking this up and doing something… in isolation each school and community is pretty powerless against the govt… united and given the attention country wide one hopes sanity can prevail

    what a clusterfuck – can this govt do anything with any degree of competency? Other than feather their own nests

  5. BLiP 5


    Oh, c’mon peeps! All that lovely juicy tender land sitting around in the middle of the burbs, empty for most of the week, sitting there doing nothing but amuse children for a few hours a day. Just aspire to think of the potential wealth a few developers could wrought from such waste. Think of the big picture. Just once. Christchurch needs this. New Zealand needs this. Put the schools in Charter Warehouses and free the land!!

  6. BM 6

    How incompetent is the public service, must be gutting for a minister to be let down by such useless staff.

    On a side note
    Don’t see a lot of representation for white males, might explain why kiwi boys are lagging behind.

    • felix 6.1

      “Don’t see a lot of representation for white males,”

      What an interesting insight into your tiny damp mind. How many non-white people do you see in that picture, BM?

      • BM 6.1.1

        2 Maori
        5 Caucasian woman

        No Caucasian men, not very inclusive.

        • felix

          I see one non-white face out of seven, you see two out of seven.

          Even giving you the benefit of the doubt it’s fascinating that you think that’s too many darkies.

          • BM

            Funny, you just looked at the picture.

            Is Rawiri Brell not Maori enough for you.

            • felix

              I don’t know anything about the Brell family, sorry. No idea if he’s maori or not.

              However I’ve already given you the benefit of the doubt that you do, so it’s moot. I guess it’s better for you to talk about this though than address why you think two brown faces out of seven is too many.

              • Lanthanide

                “I don’t know anything about the Brell family, sorry. No idea if he’s maori or not.”

                All you have to do is read the first 8 words of his bio:
                “Rawiri, of Te Arawa (Ngāti Whakaue – Ngāti Rangitihi)”

                • felix

                  Which I didn’t – obviously.

                  However I already mooted the point – even more obviously.

            • Kotahi Tāne Huna

              Aww, BM, is Lesley Longstone not enough of a hand-picked rightwing ideologue for you? Diddums.

    • tc 6.2

      Livingstone looks like lurch from adams family…..the hands look just about right to choke the life out of those pesky teachers disagreeing with their lords policies.

      Good to see Campbell has grown a pair now and again….plenty of material and shows what a bunch of gov’t lackeys TVNZ are.

      I hear Close Up’s due for the chop as it’s grown tired according to some research TVNZ’s done, more like Steven says I reckon.

    • Te Reo Putake 6.3

      “Don’t see a lot of representation for white males, might explain why kiwi boys are lagging behind.”
      In BM’s world you have to be white to be a Kiwi.

  7. The false figures are especially designed to hide the real truth of what the nacts are
    intending to do in chch, charter schools will be one of them,they have already
    taken chch to a dictartorship via the duly elected council being effectively
    thrown out, now this,its disgraceful to say the least.
    Parata needs to name and shame those who assessed those buildings,that may
    be difficult because obviously they didn’t even have a look,if they had they
    would see that a sand pit is not liquifaction and the numerous ‘damaged’ buildings
    that were claimed to exsist on various sites, just dont exsist.
    Callous,Cold and Calcutlating, the three ‘C’s’ Pararta’s pass mark fails.

  8. Andy 8

    I wonder if the National can remember they got into Government thanks to the seat won by Nicky Wagner for Christchurch Central in the last election, if this goes ahead, I’m sure they won’t get the same support in the next election.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Lady Gardiner is a hopless case. Lesley Longstone? send her back to Hogwarts. She did not give a damn that John Campbell had the ministry on the ropes via its bogus figures, a true heart of stone transient pro.

    Campbell should change his sign off to “good night and good luck” like the Clooney film if he is able to continue the journalism of late.

  10. higherstandard 10

    Parata joins the long of useless Ministers of Education who have been served by a decidedly average to utterly useless Ministry of Education.

    • felix 10.1

      Yes, I’m certain that Parata isn’t actually the dishonest, deceptive, bumbling, stonewalling, arrogant, ego-maniacal fool she appears to be every time she opens her mouth.

      Quite certain.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 10.2

      ….served by a decidedly average to utterly useless hand-picked rightwing nut job parachuted in having failed overseas. FIFY

      • higherstandard 10.2.1

        The management team at the MoE are undoubtedly useless, but they were equally useless under Mallard, Maharey, Carter etc….

        Can’t you recall the fuck ups from years gone by such as the chimp in the MoE that fronted on closeup giggling moronically after they had failed to deal with the leaky buildings in schools

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna

          I just love the BS you guys come up with. According to you, we’ve got useless teachers, useless public servants, useless everybody. Meanwhile, under Labour our OECD PISA ranking was in the top five. No doubt by some sort of voodoo magic, what with everyone (apart from your beloved right wing idiocrats) being so useless and all.

          Since 2008 we’ve slipped a couple of ranks. Oh, I wonder why that could be. What changed in 2008?

          • insider

            In the interests of accuracy we were 3rd in maths and reading, and sixth in science in 2000. By 2006 we were out of the top 10 in maths, fifth in reading and seventh in sciences. The Ministers of Education during this time were Trevor Mallard and Steve Maharey.

            • Kotahi Tāne Huna

              Citation necessary.

            • Draco T Bastard


              And where were we in 2k7, 2k8, 2k9, 2010?

              Hmmm, IIRC, we were in the top 5 overall.

              I believe we were still having teething problems with NCEA in the early 2000s.

              • insider

                http://www.oecd.org/edu/preschoolandschool/programmeforinternationalstudentassessmentpisa/ but wikipedia is a lot easier.

                They are not done anually. 2009 is the latest and the trend down continued but. Not sure you could blame National for a test done eight months after taking power.

                I love how you guys get all citey when received wisdom is challenged by the facts.

                • BM

                  Brilliant, arse meet plate.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  …but wikipedia is a lot easier.

                  Actually, this link is.

                  The Wikipedia table for 2000 through to 2006 is just wrong as it has a year and a specific subject in each column so we’re not seeing the whole picture.

                  2009 is the latest and the trend down continued but. Not sure you could blame National for a test done eight months after taking power.

                  Although down slightly three tests just aren’t enough data to draw a conclusion of a trend. We won’t be seeing the results of NACTs fucking with the system until 2012 at the earliest but the one to watch will be 2015 (Unless the next government drops National Standards).

                  I love how you guys get all citey when received wisdom is challenged by the facts.

                  What you were saying conflicted with what had been reported in the MSM.

                  • insider

                    “Although down slightly three tests just aren’t enough data to draw a conclusion of a trend.”

                    Tell that to KTH…

                    And your faith in the mainstream media is touching

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      No need to tell me. According to PISA, were were in the top six in 2006.

                      BM, sorry to once again burst your bubble. Whose arse were you talking about?

                    • insider

                      Oh dear what a Pisa fail.

                      “Finland, with an average of 563 score points, was the highest-performing country on the PISA 2006 science scale. Six other high-scoring countries had mean scores of 530 to 542 points: Canada, Japan and New Zealand and the partner countries/economies Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei and Estonia”

                      This was just for Science. Finland plus six others makes seven countries, and what score did NZ get? 530! And what ranking number was NZ out of those seven? Drum roll please….Number SEVEN!!!

                      “The top performer in science in PISA 2006 was Finland, followed by Hong Kong-China, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Japan and New Zealand.” http://www.oecd.org/edu/preschoolandschool/programmeforinternationalstudentassessmentpisa/oecdspisasurveyshowssomecountriesmakingsignificantgainsinlearningoutcomes.htm

                      KTH, may I reintroduce you to your mouth organ? Also known as your arse.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      It seems we’re both having trouble reading. In 2006 we were fourth in science, not seventh. Pucker up.

                      In the same year we were fifth in reading and eleventh in Maths.

                    • insider

                      Only if you are using OECD countries. But it was not restricted to them in 2006…as the next table down shows http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_International_Student_Assessment#2006 . Hint- NZ has the number 7 next to it in the ‘Sciences’ column. Note the BBC table actually includes those non OECD countries that you ignore to get your sciences rank.

                      We probably would be number four if not for the likes of you.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      According to your link, if we take out the non OECD countries we get the OECD PISA rank for NZ, 2006 as: fourth in sciences, fourth in reading, and seventh in Maths.

                      Which averages out at fifth overall in the OECD. Making my statement “under Labour our OECD PISA ranking was in the top five” true, even if serendipitously so 🙂

                    • insider

                      Shall we declare it an honourable draw then? 🙂

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      lol +1

  11. shorts 11

    of the Ministry Of Education is so useless how come we do so well in OECD rankings for education – can’t all be down to the teachers, surely?

    I’d imagine it would suck to work there currently given the anti educational stance of the Minster

    • r0b 11.1

      can’t all be down to the teachers, surely

      Ummm – why not? Teachers and parents between them.

      • shorts 11.1.1

        fair call, I’ve massive respect for our teachers but I don’t buy the ministry is useless line, the directives and leadership maybe

      • mac1 11.1.2

        I think the kids have something to do with it, as well.

        And that’s not just a flip comment. The health, motivation, aspirations, willingness to engage etc of our learners is very important. Not all of this is down to parents and teachers.

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna

          Um, I know I’m repeating myself, but “teacher effect” has a very small role to play. Less than 8% according to some, although I have also seen Professor Margaret Wu put it at more like 10%.

          The elephant in the room is family income.

          • mac1

            And family income affects and/or is linked to the learner’s health, motivation, aspirations, willingness to engage. It also would play a part in the parents and teachers’ roles; the parents by affecting their health, motivation etc and the teachers by affecting the resources they have, in turn affected by the wealth of the school community.

            Yep, you’re on it, KTH.

            Therefore, calls as put by Ms (Heckled) Parata to the PPTA conference for teachers to do something about the “bottom 20%” are 8-10% effective whilst she and her government ignore the presence of the elephant of family income.

  12. Looks like they had teenage children counting buildings from an aerial photograph too me.

    They must have been counting the white lines on the playing fields as “Buildings”

    Great work Parata ….. Did you pay them for it ?

    I wonder how many kids fit into the Goal Posts buildings they counted.

  13. aerobubble 13

    Education reforms, poor? got a bright child? get school kickbacks
    to send them to a under performing school. Rich and got
    a slacker, buy a place in a high achieving cohort. Welcome to
    the monetizing of education. School fees and National
    Standards together create the opportunity to turn out
    underachieving bright kids of the poor, and overachieving
    dumb kids of the rich. Go figure. Lisa Simpson.

  14. captain hook 14

    she thinks she just has to flash her pearly whites and shake her groove thang and hey presto everybody will fall over for her.
    yeah right.

  15. ianmac 15

    Every school has a location plan showing every detail of buildings, paths fences etc. This is identical to those held by the Ministry. Even if a Ministry officer stayed in her office, she could count buildings on the plan, as well as the list form. How else could decisions be made where buildings need to be added or subtracted?
    Therfore there is something murky going on here given the error rate.

  16. Jokerman 16

    few people of attainments take easily to a plan of self-improvement. Some discover very early their perfection cannot endure the insult. Others find their intellectual pleasure lies in the theory, not the practice. Only a few stubborn ones will blunder on, painfully, out of the luxuriant world of their pretensions into the desert of mortification….(and reward?)

    -White (clearly paraphrased) 😉

  17. All people needed is for Hekia Parata to be human and apologise for any errors, in earnest, and assure them they would beek seeking to get the correct info asap. Instead she offered snarky comments, snide remarks, insane grins, and obfuscation. She has no idea.

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  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
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