Vernon Small at Stuff reports:
Education Minister Hekia Parata recommended that Wanganui Collegiate 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.