Friday, October 26, 2012


Campbell Live had a disturbing piece last night on the Ministry of Education's secrecy around the Christchurch school closures. OIA requests by local communities for information necessary to inform their submissions in the "consultation" process are rejected out of hand. Worse, the Ministry appears to have instructed the Christchurch City Council - which is also a target of OIAs on the matter - to lie and claim that they did not hold information in order to thwart requests. while OIA expert Steven Price did suggest an innocent interpretation of that - that they were really trying to claim that CCC held the information on their behalf - I think that explanation can be discounted. Why? Because when Campbell Live asked the Secretary of Education about it, she didn't use that explanation, and instead resorted to blanket denials.

This is deeply disturbing, and it does not add to confidence in the process the Ministry is following. If they were running a real consultation process, they'd release this information, so the community can have their say and make their own judgement about whether the closures were necessary. The secrecy simply makes it seem like they've already made their minds up - on highly questionable grounds in some cases - and that the "consultation" is a total sham aimed simply at ticking the box before imposing a predetermined outcome. Which is simply not acceptable in a democracy.

The Ministry and Education and their Minister owe us some serious answers about what is going on here and why they are not being straight with the public. Sadly, I think that is the last thing on their minds.