Labour attacks a public servant for her sister

February 26th, 2012 at 2:27 pm by David Farrar

Kate Shuttleworth at the HoS reports:

Minister of Education ’s sister has been given one of the ministry’s top jobs. …

Labour spokesperson for education said there was a concern Apryll Parata’s promotion came so quickly after her sister was appointed minister.

“There is a perceived conflict of interest. People will draw all sorts of conclusions given the proximity of the appointment.”

They hounded Madeleine Setchell out of the public service because of her boyfriend’s new job, and now they target Ms Parata because of her sister.

Many top public servants have had siblings in politics. Mark Prebble had roles in DPMC, SSC and Treasury and his brother was Richard Prebble. Should he have not been promoted because of Richard?

Apryll Parata is one of seven Deputy Secretaries and has been a Deputy Secretary since February 2007. Her recent promotion is not of title, but of responsibilities. Parata was also the youngest ever female principal of a state secondary school. One bio states:

Apryll Parata arrived at Ngata Memorial College after the school’s roll had dropped to 72 students. Truancy was rampant, and the professional standards of teaching and management had been neglected for years. In the five years that she was principal, the roll more than trebled, truancy was nonexistent, and academic qualifications were lifted  significantly. The college moved from an academic achievement rating in the bottom five percent of the country’s secondary schools to the top of schools of its type in three years.

Yet Labour attack her having the wrong sister.

Green spokesperson for education said Apryll Parata had been involved in education for a long time.

“It’s not someone who is coming in from the outside with no knowledge. It does become interesting when it’s two sisters running the Ministry of Education because it does sound to the public like it puts power in the hands of one family.”

She said her main concern was about the direction the ministry was taking, not the personnel.

Bravo the Greens. Delahunty resists the cheap shot.

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17 Responses to “Labour attacks a public servant for her sister”

  1. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    If labour what to stack the public service with their cronnies they can get back in to government first.

    They did it shamlessly when they were the givernment but they can bugger off trying to be in change from the opposition benches.

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  2. Mark (496 comments) says:

    Hope the PSA comes out against Labours attack against a hardworking public servant.

    Labour the anti public service party – wonder if they have a list and if you are on it you are going to lose your job in the public service when they come back into power.

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  3. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Was the correct employment procedure followed?

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  4. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Parata (Apryll) musn’t be in a union, Zetetic is trying to talk up a Standard sort of attack on her.

    The whistlers may vary but the pitch is all the same (an octave ot two above ‘shrill’).

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  5. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    Many top public servants have had siblings in politics. Mark Prebble had roles in DPMC, SSC and Treasury and his brother was Richard Prebble. Should he have not been promoted because of Richard?

    Well given his disgraceful behavoir over a Lady twice his height I would say no. (Christine Rankin in case you cannot remember).
    Arsehole comes to mind,regardless of his so called abilities. No scruples and no principles. But then you get that from political sycophants. The so called neutral public service.
    He was a disgrace to both the service and the neutrality.

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  6. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    As I said on WO, Apryll Parata’s outstanding track record shows why she’s been appointed:

    – the youngest female principal ever to be appointed to a state secondary school in NZ – Ngata Memorial

    – at Ngata she eliminated truancy, trebled the school roll AND lifted academinc achievement from the bottom 5% to the top of schools of its type in 3 years

    – was awarded the NZ Order of Merit for outstanding leadership in education and policy

    – appointed deputy-secretary Maori Education in 2007 (under a Labour Govt I might add)

    – heavily involved in Iwi, regional and national Maori education and policy

    The difference between Apryll Parata and Nanaia Mahuta is that Parata has earned her entitlement through hard work, whereas Mahuta has a sense of entitlement by virtue of birth…

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  7. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I should like to see details of how Hekia Parata intends to handle the conflicts of interest in her portfolio – sister a senior Education Ministry official and husband heading the Tertiary Education Commission.

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  8. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    FFS Nanaia Mahooter crying nepotism is a bit rich! She is only where she is because of her family name and connections.

    Her laziness and stupidity would have otherwise had her stuck in the back benches at best – Cuniliffe only chose her as his running mate as a futile sop to try to gain a few maori votes (fat lot of good it did him!).

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  9. Steve (4,564 comments) says:

    Nanaia Mahuta, why are you not there? All you can do is sledge Hekia Parata by attacking her sister. Typical of a leftie. Someone has to fill these positions, would you rather it be you Mahuta?
    Or another fucking Unionist Teacher?
    Labour’s spokesperson for Education needs some education
    Hekia Parata will go a long way

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  10. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    I don’t have any issues with Hekia Parata’s sister Apryll being promoted to this position. It is a public service appointment via the State Services Commission, and something that Minister Hekia Parata is at arms length from.

    However, I do take issue with Hekia Parata’s husband, Wira Gardiner, being appointed to run hui on state asset sales. That decision would have been taken at Ministerial or even Cabinet level, rather than at arms length by the SSC, and imo that is too close to the senior Minister whose husband was appointed for me to feel comfortable about it..

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  11. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    No toad. it’s not the method of appointment; it’s the way that this is untenable in practice. How does a very senior official provide neutral advice to her sister? It just strains everyone’s credibility.

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  12. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @mikenmild 9:14 pm

    I don’t think we should assume siblings or other close family relatives always share the same political ideology or will be improperly influenced by each other.

    For example, current Green MP Ken Graham is the brother of former National MP, last week found guilty of criminal offences under the Securities Act, Doug Graham.

    I suspect there will still be personal fraternal support between the Graham brothers, but that does not imply mutual political patronage or that Ken supports what Doug did (or failed to do) to “earn” his guilty verdict.

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  13. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    How does a very senior official provide neutral advice to her sister?

    By being professional and giving it to her. It’s not difficult if she has the necessary competence. I don’t see why she would be any less neutral than anyone else.

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  14. Piob (17 comments) says:

    I’m told that Geoff Palmer used to give his son Mathew really a tough grilling at Cabinet Committee meetings, when Mathew was a Treasury official. It’s often the case that family members are given a rougher time than anyone else as the politician overcompensates.

    Does anyone know how Bolger treated his bureaucrat children?

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  15. backster (2,174 comments) says:

    Then there was Labour Education minister Chris Carter whose lover was a School Principal.

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  16. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    This does seem to a an exceptional case – a senior official who could be expected to provide advice directly to the Minister – her sister.

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  17. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Mike,
    all it takes for her to do the job right is integrity.

    Now, being a lefty, you may need someone to explain that word to you.

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