Key out of touch on Longstone pay out

John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks the $425,000 golden handshake for Lesley Longstone is a relatively small sum of money, says Chris Hipkins, Labour’s Education spokesperson.

“I don’t know how much John Key keeps in his wallet, but $425,000 isn’t “small” – it is a huge amount of money to 99.99% of New Zealanders. 

“To put it into perspective, it is about ten times the median wage for a year’s work in New Zealand.  Alternatively, it would pay the average wage of six teachers for an entire year.

“John Key might be happy to pay out so much taxpayer money so that Hekia Parata has a scapegoat to blame for her failings as Minister of Education, but parents and teachers won’t be.  They’d rather see that money spent on helping schools clean up the mess Hekia Parata has created with Novopay.

“John Key preaches fiscal restraint, and tries to make a virtue out of cutting spending and services.  But the moment he has a political mess in his Cabinet, he is happy to throw taxpayers money at it to make it go away.

“The only problem is, they sacked the wrong person. 

“The Prime Minister might hope axing Lesley Longstone and blaming her for his Government’s education woes will be the end of the matter.  But with Hekia Parata’s record of botch-ups, bungles and back-downs, I seriously doubt it,” says Chris Hipkins.