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Thickest. Minister. Ever.

Written By: - Date published: 2:09 pm, November 25th, 2009 - 70 comments
Categories: education - Tags: ,

rileySo, imagine you’re the Minister for Education. You’re meeting with the PPTA executive, and sometime soon you’re expecting to announce big teacher layoffs. How do you handle the situation?

How about reading the executive a children’s story book! This one should be good: “The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley”. It’s a sweet little homily: “Laying it on with a trowel, Thompson contrasts Riley, a rat who never wants more than he has and so leads a blissful existence, with people, who industriously pack their far longer lives with utter misery by craving massive quantities of food, goods and power…”. Read it to the assembled teachers. Show them the pictures. Good work – you’re done!

Sounds pretty stupid doesn’t it? But this is exactly what happened at the PPTA executive meeting last Thursday. Seriously, Tolley read them this story book about a rat who was happy with less. Exactly what kind of message was Tolley trying to convey to the union do you think?

The Press article linked above quotes some PPTA reactions: “It was stunned silence”, “We have had many ministers come to the executive table, and I don’t think we’ve ever had that”, “It doesn’t sit well with a group of adults”. My contact in the exec was rather blunter. Tolley is now regarded by them as the thickest Education minister ever. It seems unlikely that she can ever be taken seriously in this portfolio again.

70 comments on “Thickest. Minister. Ever. ”

  1. fizzleplug 1

    I hope she read it nice and slow and showed the pictures to everyone!

    • toad 1.1

      Now, r0b, you should have given me some credit for this. You have been very naughty and deserve a spanking if you are guilty of plagiarism.

      I posted the “thick” bit re Tolley some two hours before you. And described her as incompetent, to boot.

      But good on you for picking up on it too. Cheers, mate!

      • r0b 1.1.1

        Sorry toad – but I wrote mine in the morning! – just hard to get a slot in the schedule today, what with, you know, one thing and another…

        Oh! Like your piece though – very good!

        • toad 1.1.1.1

          Cheers, r0b.

          Guess have the “advantage” of only one post a day on g.blog, so don’t need a schedule.

          I must rev the greenies up to get some more input there. g.blog is a great idea, but there are only 4 of us who regularly post there, and we’re all really busy people.

          So if you want to contribute as an author on g.blog, contact me. But you have to be a Green Party member, and I’ll be checking.

          • lukas 1.1.1.1.1

            Toad, the “green” Party can hardly make comment on the thickness of any MP, you have Catherine Delahunty!

          • r0b 1.1.1.1.2

            Thanks for the offer toad, but I can hardly keep up with trying to post here at The Standard let alone taking on anything new…

        • lprent 1.1.1.2

          Yeah – 16 posts today. But a few were ‘notice’ posts. The schedule was a bit tight (mine eventually got bumped after yours rOb)…

  2. gitmo 2

    She’s simply the best !

    • BLiP 2.1

      Are you familiar with the term: laughter is the best medicine?

      That’s my coping mechanism for dealing with National Ltd®

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    Its hard to believe that National have someone thicker than Bennett, but as the PPTA now know from experience they probably have. What do you reckon would happen if you stuck Bennett and Tolley in the room together with a book?

    I wouldnt mind betting that Bennett would choose to turn the pages and look at the pictures while Tolley read out loud.

    • BLiP 3.1

      Basher Bennett would have had a wee blub at the end when Riley The Rat was told he would just have to eat less.

    • rainman 3.2

      “What do you reckon would happen if you stuck Bennett and Tolley in the room together”

      Gravitational collapse to black hole, owing to ultra-high concentration of stupid.

  4. Ah well, I guess its pretty low on those 4 syllable+ words that she finds so scary\challenging

    • I wonder if Tolley asks for cabinet papers to be replaced with appropriate childrens books?

      The possibilities are interesting.

      The paper on the RMA amendment and the removal of tree protection should have been replaced by Dr Seuss’s “The Lorax”.

      Corrections policy could be replaced by “Where the wild things are”.

      Auckland’s rail developments by “The little train that could”.

      And any paper presented by Nick Smith should be replaced by “Pinnochio” to warn them.

      Given the quality of decision making shown over the last 12 months things could not be worse …

  5. George D 5

    I wonder how it compares to The Pet Goat as a work of literature?

  6. Bill 6

    So let me get this straight.

    The PPTA exec sat around and played out the roll of well behaved little children being read to? Is that correct?

    If so, then Tolley isn’t so much thick as an excellent piss ripper.

    And the PPTA exec are craven or stupid or both. Am I to believe that no-one at that meeting challenged Tolley’s nonsense? No one said “Hey! Hang on bitch. Get fucked!”…or something similar?

    Nobody took the book away from her while delivering a size 10 up the backside as her enforced exit strategy?

    Wow.

    • George D 6.1

      So this is the PPTA’s fault?

      They could have walked out, but then they would be portrayed as arrogant or insincere by people like you.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        Bollox George.

        The PPTA allowed Tolley to make fools of them.

        Tolley obviously has no respect for them. They have no self respect in allowing that shit to happen.

        With apologies to union organisers, delegates and members who have maintained an understanding of unionism and a clear view of who the enemies are….maybe there is a touch of too many careerists masquerading as unionists and too many warm fuzzy feeling meetings with ministers over the past decade with tea and bickies ( good for that big soft underbelly) in the stead of sustainable union activities such as proper bloody organising.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          No, the PPTA allowed Tolley to make a fool of herself.

        • IrishBill 6.1.1.2

          The executive of the PPTA is made up of people who work as teachers. Like every other union the peak governing body consists of members who work in the industry the union represents.

          Most of the teachers I’ve known are reasonably polite middle-class people. I suspect that’s got more to do with their reaction to this bullshit than any “careerism”.

          • Bill 6.1.1.2.1

            oops.

            I mistakenly assumed the exec was made up of paid officials rather than elected union members. So I take back the bit about careerists.

            Still no excuse for not handing Tolley’s head back to her though.

            • NickS 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Shock.

              After dealing with school kids, I get the feeling teachers aren’t really expecting such bullsh*t from an adult, particularly one who is the Minister of Education…

          • Rex Widerstrom 6.1.1.2.2

            I think you’re spot on IB. I’ve worked for the teachers’ union in Australia and was amazed at how damn nice they all were, even when “negotiating” with a Minister who was arrogant and wouldn’t listen, publicly ridiculing them for their stance.

            It was like trying to get my elderly aunties to flip the bird at the local vicar.

            It was only when they finally let me loose to make attack ads (one of which was so bad said Minister relented before it got to air to avoid it being screened) that they got the upper hand 😈

        • Eden 6.1.1.3

          How naive of you Bill!

          This was clearly a power play. Chopper Tolley was experimenting, seeing what PPTA would have to put up with. It would not be surprising to me to hear of others in cabinet or education ministry trying the same thing.

          The difficulty for PPTA and similar in these situations is that if they pick a fight, then the minister has an excuse to ignore them. They don’t risk it.

  7. tc 7

    Imagine the minister selection process last year……who left school before the end and has no higher Ed quals……OK your Education minister.
    Who is the most natural liar…..excellent you get to shaft them on ETS and ACC oh and appoint a few mates in the process.
    Who hates the environment and greenies…..Ok you get energy also gerry, seems a good fit.
    Who’s brand new so we can give the porfolio we like least to…..done it’s yours Bennett, no need for the evil laugh save it for your department.
    You over there ….what’s her name Ok booby prize for being late kate you get Industrial relations. etc etc

  8. but what the hell is she reading a story for anyway – is she our dubya?

  9. Sanctuary 9

    My sisters went to school with Anne Tolley. Their one word summation of our current minister of education?

    “Stupid”.

  10. Irascible 10

    Tolley either didn’t realise the sub-text of the story or she is so patronisingly arrogant that she felt she could treat the executive of the PPTA as though they were children.
    I believe she knew what she was doing and saying in the expectation that the Executive would react by walking out on her” innocence” so the NACT PR agency could spin the event to an attack on the power and arrogance of the PPTA as a union “wanting to control Education and the NACT govt policies” which,of course, everyone in NACT agrees with.
    Whichever way you read the situation it stinks!

    • Bill 10.1

      Did she go and meet with the exec or did they go and meet with her?

      If the former then they could have kicked her out!

      This fucking bullshit drive to ‘be polite’ has no place in the context of a recession which is going to wreck the lives of union members.

  11. vto 11

    Got to agree with Bill. No matter how stupid Tolley might be, it seems very peculiar that grown adults would sit and listen to poop like that when they supposedly all have busy jobs to attend to.

    Sounds like farce all around. So who really was the stupid one/s? And who was pulling whose tit?

    Maybe its a wellington / politics / bureacracy thing. God knows they all get up to plenty nonsensical stuff and associated ideas from other planetary bodies from time to time.

    Love to see the footage though.

    • Bright Red 11.1

      If you were a senior figure and a minister did that to you, I think you would be so surprised you wouldn’t now how to react until it was over. I think everyone would be too busy looking round at each other trying to work out what the hell was going on.

      Plus, the PPTA has to work with this minister, they can’t exactly start swearing at her over a picture book.

      • vto 11.1.1

        true of course true. always difficult to know how to act when your boss appears to have lost the plot. ha ha ha.

      • Bill 11.1.2

        ‘Senior figures’ and ministers are different to you and me in the people stakes how?

        However you’d have dealt with it in a scenario where you perceive an equality of standing is how you deal with it regardless imo…

    • Ron 11.2

      You’re right of course but we are well trained to sit and take it in this country.
      Tolley, like Bennett, is quite capable of punishing anyone who spoke up at that meeting.
      If you work for the Minister or have a contract with the Government it is very hard to be an advocate without experiencing official backlash.

  12. Phil Lyth 12

    Merv Wellington?

    • lprent 12.1

      Ah Please don’t remind me of that idiot. Yeah Tolley is probably better than he was. Not by much….

      Anne Tolley – Better than Merv Wellington!

      • dan 12.1.1

        Don’t knock Merv! At least he was a trained teacher, a popular school cricket coach and was only appointed Minister by Muldoon because he had been inside a classroom.
        This current buffoon rates herself because as a Mum, and Grandmum, she knows all about education. She went to a parent interview once!
        Riley the Rat is significant, but there has been a misprint. It is Riley the Nat.

      • gitmo 12.1.2

        Actually looking back there have been some notorious twats holding the portfolio.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minister_of_Education_(New_Zealand)

        • grumpy 12.1.2.1

          Don’t knock twats.

          We don’t stand for heterophobic insults around here!

        • Rex Widerstrom 12.1.2.2

          Notorious twats like Les Gandar, for instance.

          Admittedly I was still at high school, but I’d already won a journalism award for a doco featuring Muldoon and the DG of the SIS (the first ever interview given by a head of that agency) so I reckoned I had some bona fides.

          I needed Gandar for another doco so I approached his SPS (no Media Advisors in those days) for an interview. As was the practice with Muldoon’s Cabinet, I even submitted the base questions beforehand (with the proviso I was free to ask follow-ups). In other words, this was quite clearly an interview, with a journalist. A professional one, even (I was on RNZ’s payroll).

          The fact I spent some time faffing round setting up a tape recorder on his desk might have been another clue.

          We were just about to start when the Division bells rang. Gandar apologised for having to leave. I explained I’d wait.

          An expression of confusion crossed his dial. “Oh, I thought you just wanted to meet me” he said.

          Yes Les, coz like, you were a god to us schoolkids.

      • mickysavage 12.1.3

        “Anne Tolley Better than Merv Wellington!”

        I am not so sure. And I am really disturbed that I am not so sure.

    • toad 12.2

      Merv Wellington.

      Now that brings back the memories. I was a student when he was the Minsiter of Edumacation.

      All in all, Merv was just another brick (prick?) in the wall.

      • BLiP 12.2.1

        Yeah? Me too. At least I learned that the word you mention is actually spelled edjumakshun. Get it right, eh!

  13. Bored 13

    Tolley should be worriying about academic achievement standards. To date NACTs degreed people like Smith, Worth, English, etc have displayed incredible levels of stupidity. What are our universities up to? Theses people may be clever enough to have worked their way through to a degree or two, but thickness seems to have been retained in parallel.

    • fizzleplug 13.1

      except I’m sure their degrees were “earned” a fair time ago, with no association to the current level of tertiary education.

      After all, it’s often the old dogs that can’t keep up with the new tricks. Fresh blood on both sides of the House would make politics much more interesting.

    • NickS 13.2

      One lesson you should pick up from the internet, degree’s, even higher level ones, are no guarantee that the holder isn’t pants-on-head-retarded outside of their degree’s subject area.

      Hence why you get people with even science degrees believing all sorts of utter bs, from quantum woo, to the Earth being 6000 years old.

  14. The Voice of Reason 14

    What was the name of that movie? Rata-something? Ah, that’s it … Ratatolley!

  15. Lanthanide 15

    I think the PPTA should decline to have anything further to Tolley, and send all of their correspondence directly to John Key, until such time as Tolley apologises nationally for the way that she treated them.

  16. logie97 16

    Step back people. This minister and her government care little for plain language reporting – that’s a front. This government doesn’t really care where the children sit on scales either. This issue is step one of how accountants and other non-educationalists can measure performance and “teacher effectiveness” , and just a little down the track, bulk funding of teacher salaries. You don’t have to know anything about “educating” children to be that sort of minister.

  17. Shelley 17

    Is Tolley only in the position as a token female?

  18. NickS 18

    The stupid, it burns.

    You’d think Tolley would recognise that she was dealing with adults, and adults usually like these things called “reason” and “evidence” for why an action needs to be undertaken, and thus using a childrens story as ones argument might make you like a moron. And generally, it’s rather insulting to adults to treat them like children, when it’s clear they’re intelligent, of which you generally need to be to get through even a primary school teaching degree.

    And if she’d pulled that stunt on a class of public high school students, they probably would have rioted on her*, and rightly so.

    *nb, cut n paste assignments will also trigger riots in yr13 class, as a certain english teacher at SBHS found out the hard way…

  19. Macro 19

    I reckon Brownlie takes the cake actually (literally)! – He is doing a pretty good job in Energy!

  20. toad 20

    Hey, here’s some fun. Set up an mail alias – eg – thickest.minister.ever@orcon.co.nz and point it to anne.tolley@parliament.govt.nz.

  21. grumpy 21

    Certainly seems thicker than normal – give the job to Hone!

  22. Moana Mackey 22

    It wasn’t some clever way to show her contempt for the PPTA. She actually did try this on senior high school students – she read the same book out at the Trident High School senior prizegiving in Whakatane a few weeks back.

    The last bit says that “realising a rat has a better life than you do is really really sad” and the students and parents all laughed nervously not quite sure what she was trying to tell them…. It was a very awkward moment.

  23. Em 23

    Bring back steve!

  24. illuminatedtiger 24

    Appalling. But what more can you expect from this pack of dimwitted morons we call our government?

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