Editorial: Resign calls no surprise

By Ross Pringle

The calls for Hekia Parata to resign in the wake of the resignation of Education Secretary Lesley Longstone are hardly surprising.

For many it was the last straw in a portfolio that has lurched from one crisis to another under Ms Parata's stewardship.

To be fair, not all the issues have arisen during her tenure or are her fault, but still, as minister responsible, she has been unable to stem the tide of unrest that seems to have permeated the sector.

With issues such ascharter schools, performance pay, increased class sizes, closure of schools, and the ongoing catastrophe that is Novopay, the premature departure of Ms Longstone gives the appearance she is being made a scapegoat for all the various failings.

But what of the minister? Surely she must shoulder some of the blame.

Education must be suffering an epic crisis of morale. Constant uncertainty would destroy the confidence of the most devoted and talented worker.

Now Ms Parata is on holiday, while staff on the frontline - people such as Tawhero School office administrator Sandra Carrick - just wonder what the new year will bring.

Some suggest the minister should go, that herhandling of the challenging education portfolio has been inept, as evidenced by the High Court ruling that her attempt to close Salisbury School was unlawful.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins described her tenure as "a series of blunders, botch-ups and bungles" and demanded she be replaced.

That would no doubt bring a sense of relief, but it would be a cop out.

Ms Parata should be made to stay back from holiday and fix the problems she has either caused or failed to adequately address, starting with the pay system.

That may go some way to restoring the confidence of those who work in education.

If things continue next year as they have in 2012, it will be our children - our future - that suffer.

Surely that is not a legacy Ms Parata wants.

- Northern Advocate

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