What price an apology?

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, June 12th, 2012 - 23 comments
Categories: education, john key, Media - Tags: , ,

Parents and teachers are calling for Key to apologise over the stress and anxiety that his government has caused them over the last 2 weeks. Want to guess how Key handled it?

The Prime Minister is refusing to apologise to parents and teachers over the Government’s botched education reforms. John Key admits it made a mistake, but that’s as far he’ll go.

Two weeks after the Government lined up education for funding cuts, it reneged. But it was two weeks of stress and anxiety for teachers and parents. “I think that they caused the teachers and the head teachers a lot of stress that was unnecessary,” says parent Kirsty Stewart. For that, parents and teachers are calling for an apology. …

The Ministry of Education and its minister spearheaded the reforms, but all of Cabinet approved them.

“Cabinet needs to take responsibility,” says John Key.

Usually when someone makes a mistake, especially one which causes such a stir, it’s followed by “I’m sorry”.

So will John Key say it? “No,” says the Prime Minister. “But I think parents would see very closely that the Government has listened.” …

I could speculate about the various charitable (and uncharitable) interpretations of Key’s refusal here, but cutting to the chase, I think he is dead wrong to withhold an apology. Most of the media isn’t playing suck-up any more, so this becomes a very bad look indeed…

(3 News screen shot – ouch!)

23 comments on “What price an apology?”

  1. Bunji 1

    Got to it before I did!
    Interesting read in The Herald as well.

    Basically, we were right, the public is wrong, but we played it wrong, so we couldn’t get our way.

    He said he would describe the idea of teacher “quality over quantity” as the right one. “But the execution of the idea was poorly handled and we all need to take some responsibility for that, including myself.”

    I’m not sure why the false dichotomy between quality and quantity, or why he thinks quantity has no influence on quality but…

    Also astounding in the same article:

    Asked if the Cabinet had been told about what the potential level of job losses would be on schools and technology centres he said: “No, not to that level of detail, no.”

    They’re proposing cutting back on teachers – frontline staff, as promised not to – and they’ve not gone into the ‘detail’ of how many jobs will be lost?

    Seriously?

    None of the 20 in National’s cabinet thought that was worth raising? JK, Bill, Paula, Tony, Steven, Kate Wilko, Amy Adams, Craig Foss, Crusher, etc etc… NONE of you thought that was worth asking?

    Seriously?

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    To me the main issue is the ‘teacher quality’ which should be pursued regardless.
    Has class sizes become the ‘third rail’ of education politics ?

    Reminds me of Victoria in Australia, when they wanted to cut under performing teachers, they just looked at the amount of sick leave taken and used that as the measure of ‘quality’ and those affected were made redundant without replacement.

  3. shorts 3

    a politician… of any type apologise… as if that’ll happen

    politics is more important than anything to these people and most of the commentators – here as well as other places

    if policy & the details mattered they’d not have bungled this as they most certainly have

    viva the revolution

    • Zorr 4.1

      The stance is essentially the same but De Niro wears it comfortably where his character is confident in the power that he wields whereas Key comes across as a naked emperor the day after… “What? Who, me?”

  4. Dr Terry 5

    The government has backed down because it has been forced to “listen”, with much reluctance (note Parata), and only under such large pressure. The usual stance is, of course, to remain stubbornly obdurate (eg asset sales, retirement age etc). Now, so suddenly, they have discovered the word “listen”. I am not sure where they got it from. Possibly from Lewis Carroll (though doubt they are that educated!):

    “”Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
    Be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!”

    • Fortran 5.1

      Give serious thanks to the media, without whom the Teachers unions and the mothers would not have succeeded in changing the Nats minds.

      Now the media are leading the Superannuation charge as the next project.

  5. Ross 6

    The government won’t apologise because it feels it doesn’t need to. National still intend to make cuts to education and this faux pas will be a temporary reprieve for the sector.

  6. felix 7

    Heh, the media are starting to publish pictures that actually look like him now. Good.

    But this: “I think parents would see very closely… ” WTF does that mean?

    How come a chimp can learn basic sign language but a PM can’t learn English?

  7. Ross 8

    Over at Stuff:

    Comment From Kristen
    “Thanks for backing down on the class-size thing, but I’d like to know what you’re going to cut in education to make up the savings you would have got from cutting class sizes.”

    John Key:
    “We are working on that, but worst case scenario we will have to take it out of next year’s new Budget spending provision.”

    So under the worst case scenario, no school will lose any teachers and class sizes won’t get any bigger?

  8. Ross 9

    And in another Stuff comment:

    Comment From Year 12 Sos Hghs class
    “How would you feel about class sizes going up in your son’s school? ”

    John Key:
    “Totally fine, if they were of the magnitude being previously proposed. I care much more about the quality of the teacher standing before my son.”

    This simply confirms what I said earlier. Key has no intention of apologising because he supports the policy of teacher cuts and larger classes.

    • tracey 9.1

      does key understand that the teacher in front of his son is probably there because of

      Low class size
      Quality of resourcing
      Salary

      Make them stand in front of 30 with few resources and a lower salary and his son is in a state school. He should be asked how he measures the quality of his son,s teacher, is it by his sons grades?

  9. irascible 10

    An apology would be an admission that KeY and his cronies are inept, inadequate and incompetent as, like Mugabe, they only understand the word inpower there will be no apology or admission of failure.

  10. Georgy 11

    None of what the govt has done around class size should surprise anyone – no proper analysis of the effect of the policy and no questions asked. Thought it would be a breeze increasing classes by a couple of kids. Who could really oppose that if it is going to lead to some sort of magical improvement in the quality of teaching.

    A government with no plan.

    A government with no heart.

    Every national MP should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

  11. Georgy 12

    Given the recent reports on NZ ‘s educational achievements being in the top few internationally, what is the goal around teacher quality? What the hec is it if it isn’t already there?

    The real goal should be identifying where the need to improve outcomes for children is. Develop a strategy around that. Schools that are already doing well will continue to do well and improve under their own steam as they have been for years.

    More resources for teaching, and maybe teaching quality, should go into the areas where pupil achievement needs to be addressed.

    Instead of fixing things that aren’t broke, target the money to the area of need.

  12. tracey 13

    Frankly parents cld have avoided the angst if they listened to the teachers and principals, not just on class size but all education issues. Being a parent qualifies you for an opinion but doesnt make you an expert on teaching. Victims of crime dont determine policy policy, largely the police do, why tge difference in education?

  13. tracey 14

    It has never been about quality its been about cutting costs, the opposite of what is happening in govt funding of private schools. Does it count as welfare that we taxpayers subsidise mr key,s son,s education when he is perfectly able to afford unsubsidised fees? I wonder how much the pms trust have donated to his children,s schools over the years

  14. Roy 15

    Cabinet nees to take responsibility? Damn, I thought the Prime Minister was supposed to be part of Cabinet? Quite an important part, in fact?

  15. tracey 16

    Pm: the buck stops (points in both directions) over there

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • More proof National not delivering for New Zealanders
    The Ministry of Social Development’s latest Household Incomes Report is more hard evidence of the growing poverty in New Zealand, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National claims to be delivering for New Zealanders. This report puts the lie ...
    21 hours ago
  • Strong support from medical community for Healthy Homes Bill
    More than a thousand medical professionals, medical students, and other New Zealanders have shown their support for Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    24 hours ago
  • Labour will fund Buller Health Centre
    A Labour Government will fully fund the Buller Integrated Family Health Centre in Westport, confirming its commitment to the people of the West Coast and the role of central government to fund essential public services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s affordable promise for Auckland more smoke and mirrors
    The 26,000 additional houses National plans to build in Auckland on public land over the next decade include fewer than 5,000 affordable homes, while more than 60 per cent will be available for speculators to buy, says Leader of the ...
    1 day ago
  • National out of touch over immigration
    National’s abrupt backflip on their recently-announced changes to immigration shows they never understood the problem and just came up with a confused knee jerk response, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Regional communities and businesses were quite right to ...
    2 days ago
  • English out of touch on homelessness
    Bill English’s comments that he doesn’t know why people are complaining about the blowout in the number of homeless families the government is putting up in motels just shows how tired and out of touch National is after nine years, ...
    2 days ago
  • All Kiwis to have same standard of cancer care
    Labour is promising that all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live in the country, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “As someone who has survived cancer I ...
    3 days ago
  • Infrastructure announcement too long coming
    “What took you so long?” is Labour’s response to the Government’s announcement of a new infrastructure investment vehicle. Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says Labour announced its policy in 2015 to debt-finance infrastructure and service that debt with targeted ...
    3 days ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    National has no idea how to house the record number of people entering New Zealand, let alone cope with the pressure on health, education, and transport from this record population growth, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour to invest $4 billion in education
    Labour’s Education Manifesto will bring positive change across the education sector and is backed by a massive investment, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Labour’s plan will see an extra $4 billion invested over the next four years. It’s organised ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s shame: worst homelessness in the OECD
    National’s legacy is a housing crisis that has given New Zealand the worst homeless rate in the developed world, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour taking action on school donations
    Labour will end so-called voluntary school donations for the majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour has always been committed to a world-class free education ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour to work with Queenstown to build more houses
    Labour will work with Queenstown-Lakes District Council, iwi, and the Community Housing Trust to build the modern, affordable housing Queenstown desperately needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    6 days ago
  • Nats blow the Budget on motels after bowling state houses
    National is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless families in motels, the legacy of nine years of selling off and knocking down state houses, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    6 days ago
  • New revelations in Joanne Harrison report
    The State Services Commission’s report into the treatment of whistle-blowers by Joanne Harrison has revealed new accusations against the convicted fraudster, says Labour MP Sue Moroney.  “The report found that four staff inside the Ministry of Transport who had raised ...
    6 days ago
  • Snafu at Princess Margaret
    Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “The Government must accept that Christchurch is still recovering ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s fiscal plan to build a fairer New Zealand
    Labour will re-build our housing, health and education while responsibly managing New Zealand’s finances, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “Under Labour’s Fiscal Plan we will deliver big investments in the services we all need and care about, invest ...
    7 days ago
  • Nats show they’re the tax dodgers’ best friends
    The government is taking the knife to IRD at a time when we need a highly skilled department to ensure that multinationals and speculators don’t get away with dodging tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour secures the future for NZ Super
    A Labour Government will secure the future for New Zealand Superannuation so we can continue to provide superannuation to those retiring at age 65, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “One of the first things a Labour-led Government will ...
    1 week ago
  • Multinationals must pay fair share of tax
    A Labour Government will crack down on multinational companies that are dodging paying their fair share of tax, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealanders are missing out by hundreds of millions according to the IRD because multinational companies can ...
    1 week ago
  • ACT’s approach to children backward and ill informed
    Act’s new deputy leader’s claim that Labour’s support for families could “extend the misery of child poverty and even child abuse” is ill informed and offensive, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Canterbury hatchet job a disgrace
    The Government’s glib acceptance of advice that the Canterbury District Health Board doesn’t need more money is a hatchet job and a disgrace, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “To claim that the DHB was using tactics to leverage more ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Quality for Kiwi kids at ECE
    After more than a decade of rapid growth in the number of children participating in Early Childhood Education (ECE), it’s time to take stock and map out a clear plan for the future, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to boost ECE quality
    Labour will ensure kids get the best start in life by boosting funding for Early Childhood Centres to employ 100 per cent qualified and registered teachers, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour will stump up a million dollars for Maniototo Hospital
    A Labour led Government will make a million dollars available to rebuild the Maniototo Base hospital in Ranfurly, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “This will be a much needed boost for a long overdue rebuild that has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No vision for the West Coast
    The West Coast welcomes any Government investment in our region but the lack of any real alternative vision for the West Coast’s economy is disappointing, says Damien O’Connor Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP.  “The establishment of a Mining Research Unit will ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s youth work scheme too little too late
    After nine years, National’s belated attempt to provide work opportunities for unemployed youth should be seen for what it is, a half-hearted, election gimmick from a party that’s ignored the problem till now, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis won’t fall for Joyce’s spin
    Steven Joyce’s embarrassingly obvious spin on Labour’s Families Package won’t fool anyone, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour prioritises families and public services
    Labour’s Families Package delivers a bigger income boost to more than 70 per cent of families with children than Budget 2017. By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Labour is able to do more for lower and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis can’t sleep in your ghost houses, Nick
    The Government’s housing infrastructure announcement is another Nick Smith special – over-promising with no detail on delivery, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour helps older New Zealanders and low income families with winter heating bills
    Labour will further boost its commitment to warm, healthy housing with a Winter Energy Payment for superannuitants and people receiving main benefits, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Everyone deserves a warm, healthy home to live in. But that’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must rule out retrospective override for Ruataniwha
    National must categorically rule out using retrospective legislation to override the Supreme Court’s decision that the land swap of conservation land flooded by the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was illegal, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney General David Parker. “Having not got their ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Flavell’s failure a win for Māori landowners
    The Māori Development Minister’s admission that his unpopular Ture Whenua Māori Bill won’t pass into law prior to the election is a victory for Māori landowners, but only a change of government will keep the Bill gone for good, says ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Stats confirm growing housing shortfall
    National’s failure to fix the housing shortage has been starkly illustrated by new statistics, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Systemic abuse of kids in state care
    After admitting there was systemic abuse of children in State care the Government must do the right thing and launch an independent inquiry, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Migrant worker exploitation needs sharper focus
    The astonishing number of employers found guilty of exploiting migrants shows that migrant exploitation is a serious problem in New Zealand, says Labour Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “A total of 53 companies have been banned from recruiting ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister faces questions over dam debacle
    Today’s Supreme Court ruling dismissing an appeal to allow a land swap for the controversial Ruataniwha Dam is a victory for our conservation estate and Hawke’s Bay ratepayers, but leaves the Conservation Minister with serious questions to answer, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Too little too late on Wellington housing
    The announcement today on social housing in Wellington by the National Government is a pitiful and cynical election ploy, says Labour’s Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson. “In 2012 Housing New Zealand emptied out the Gordon Wilson Flats, taking 130 places ...
    3 weeks ago