Parata side-lined by Cabinet on Collegiate

Hekia Parata is clearly Minister of Education in name only, with other ministers now making all the major decisions, says Chris Hipkins, Labour’s acting Education spokesperson.

Documents released under the OIA have revealed that in October Hekia Parata urged the Cabinet to reject a request from Wanganui Collegiate to integrate into the state school system.  But two days later her recommendation was overruled.

“By law only the Education Minister can make the decision to integrate a school.  But Hekia Parata’s Cabinet colleagues obviously no longer have any faith in her judgement, and made the decision for her.

“Cabinet overruled both the Minister and all official advice.  This was a decision based on protecting privilege rather than improving education for all kids.

“The decision to integrate Wanganui Collegiate was simply wrong.  If the same level of investment had been made in the existing state schools a lot more kids would have benefited.

“It’s more than a little ironic that the Government are using a surplus of places as a reason for closing and merging schools in Christchurch, yet in Whanganui they’re willing to spend millions of taxpayer dollars integrating a school in an area we already have surplus places.

“State schools will rightly be worried that the axe could shortly be hanging over their heads while the rich, private school down the road got a government bailout,” says Chris Hipkins.