Collective responsibility

February 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small at Stuff reports:

Education Minister recommended that should not be integrated into the state system, but she was rolled by her Cabinet colleagues.

If integration had not gone ahead, the private school would have closed last year, documents obtained under the Official Information Act show.

Instead, it will now receive $3.1 million a year from the taxpayer, despite an oversupply of 1400 places in the state school system in the region.

The documents show that, on October 29 last year, Ms Parata recommended to the Cabinet that ministers reject the integration move and take no further action.

However, a second paper two days later shows her recommendation was overruled.

“Following discussion on your proposal, and having taken account of all the information before it, Cabinet subsequently noted the following decision: ‘That the Minister of Education intends to agree to the integration of Wanganui Collegiate School into the state network of schools at an estimated cost of $3.1 million per annum . . .”

This is not entirely uncommon, and is sometimes the life of being a Minister. You’ll recommend one thing to Cabinet, they’ll vote for something else, and as Minister you have to go up and front a decision that you disagree with.

Personally I have no problem with the decision as if Collegiate had closed, then the taxpayer would be having to fund their current pupils in state schools, so saying no would not have saved taxpayers money. That means that if the issue is no longer fiscal, then it should be about quality of education.

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13 Responses to “Collective responsibility”

  1. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    “the taxpayer would be having to fund their current pupils in state schools”
    Another big assumption to justify the decision. How can you assume that they would all go to state schools. My guess is that a lot (especially the boarders) would go to other private schools e.g. Rathkeale.

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  2. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    I understand in the old days when Cabinet business was less formalised, a Minister would sometimes delay bringing a matter to Cabinet until a fellow Minister who was likely to oppose the proposal was absent. What with Cabinet Manusl procedures, Treasury and other reports, etc, etc it is very unlikely a Minister can slip something through Cabinet nowadays. In general an enormous amount of work is required to bring something to Cabinet or one of its committees, including playing a game of ‘battleships’ with Treasury (you hope their questioning does not hit one of your ‘ships’). For example a former National Librarian was allegedly asked why books could not be shelved by size to save space. This instance is one of the exceptional occasions where Cabinet did not run with official (especially Treasury) advice.

    I would have thought that an individual minister’s stance on a matter before Cabinet would have remained confidential as part of Cabinet collective responsibility.

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  3. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    All it does is give ammunition to the opposition at a time when the govt are closing schools in Chch. I personally thinik it should have been closed and the opposition now use this when they talk about the Chch schools (completely different situation but still).

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  4. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    1400 unfilled places in Wanganui suggests they have a school to close. DPF it is unlikely the closure of Wanganui Collegiate would have made much difference. As has been said b4 those kids are much more likely to head to alternative private or integrated schools. But whatever happens Parata will have to address the oversupply of schools in Wanganui at some point.

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  5. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    Actually Mr. Farrar, you need to read this article- especially the second section on media bias:

    Quote-

    Republicans and conservatives: you are playthings of the mainstream media and they can totally have their way with you, no matter your observations or objections. And the most interesting part of living in such a one-sided media environment for so long is that the vast majority of Republicans (and many conservatives) will, like obedient puppies, follow the media lead. The bottom line: you Republicans and conservatives are powerless in defining or moving the debate: the mainstream media along with the liberals and Democrats essentially totally define the issues, the responses to the issues, which events to focus on or ignore, etc. And their chosen topics and slants can be very bizarre indeed. But you have nothing to do with it! You’re powerless! Impotent! The sooner you face this fact, the sooner you might find a productive path ahead.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/three_reasons_conservatives_are_losing_the_battle_for_america.html#ixzz2Lr5KNOJB

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  6. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Parata would have saved the taxpayer money on the fixed costs at least. The variable costs would have been tranferred with the pupil to other schools, especially as there is plenty of room for them in the region.

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  7. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    MikeG, Rathkeale is not a private school, it’s also state integrated.

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  8. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    The land at Wanganui Collegiate could have been used for state housing, or given to Iwi.

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  9. cha (4,010 comments) says:

    Oddly enough Collegiate is one of the largest land holders in the city Paulus but rather than divest some of their assets to fund their running costs they opted for a taxpayer handout.

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  10. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    Wrong cha, was one of the largest land holders in the city. Unloaded lots of it already.

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  11. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    It is worth noting when integration was first introduced to save the Catholic education system from disaster all non-state schools were given the opportunity to integrate. It was ‘promoted’ as saving Te Aute, but this was IMO more a smokescreen to take attention off the Catholic situation. It was a compromise between the desires of two strong political forces – the Catholic electorate versus PPTA/NZEI. All Catholic schools integrated and of the remainder (generally Anglican or Presbyterian oriented schools) some chose to integrate and others chose not to. So perhaps Colliegate and some of the other independent schools should have integrated earlier on.

    Another thought – suppose Christs College decided it wanted to integrate – the polifical ramifications would be very interesting probably with Jim Anderton running off to the courthouse to ‘save’ it. A turn of fate could have seen it become a state school years ago.

    cha – divesting of land would have merely delayed Collegiate’s problems and could well affect the viability of Whanganui as a whole. Depending on lease terms the land could well have surprisingly little value since Whanganui as a city is moving sideways if not in continuing decline. In real terms this land probably yields far less in ground rents today than it did in the early days of Collegiate. This is in stark contrast to leasehold lands owned by the Cornwall Park Trust Board in Auckland where ground rents in recent times have shot through the sky, and the 21 yearly wailing and gnashing of teeth when leases are renewed and ground rents re-set for St Johns land in Auckland.

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  12. cha (4,010 comments) says:

    Unloaded lots of it already

    From London Street through to Hadfield Crescent, Glasgow Street across to Liverpool Street, Grey Street through to the railway line and including more than a dozed high value school employee houses ….lots more to sell….but no, bludging ringies put their hand out.

    divesting of land would have merely delayed Collegiate’s problems and could well affect the viability of Whanganui as a whole

    If only you’d expressed the same sentiments when the fat bros threatened the jobs of close to 800 Imlay employees.

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  13. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Yes the schools in Whanganui have more than enough places for the Collegiate students – even if they all chose to enter the state system so the cost per pupil is not altered. But the infrastructure and staff costs, along with this bailout would have been saved. (How long until the next bailout i wonder?). Comparing with Chch is possible because Parata says the reason for closure/merger is that there aren’t enough kids in these schools and that bigger schools will lead to savings. Hypocrisy all round. Maybe turning Collegiate into NZ’s first Charter School and supplementing the short fall from the private sector would have been more appropriate – yeah right.

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