Peter Hughes

Speaking of National and arrogance… Hekia Parata


Charter schools are an important and effective step towards solving a problem with children that are on the fringes of the current education system. ?Charter schools are also a political hot potato. ?The opposition and the media are looking for any excuse to expose them as failures.

Education Minister Hekia Parata ignored advice from her ministry and signed off on a Northland charter school that has been plagued with problems since opening last year.

It can be revealed that Parata received a glowing reference from the charter school authorisation board regarding Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru and signed a contract with the school’s sponsor in September 2013.

That was despite ministry concerns the Whangaruru school had not outlined a “safe environment” for students and had not spoken with local iwi about their plans.

Since the school opened, the Education Review Office has identified a number of problems with the quality of teaching, learning, management, leadership and student engagement.

The quality of teaching, learning, management, leadership and student engagement. ?That’s not a minor list of complaints. ? Read more »

Screw up, not privacy breach

The media just love to write up screw ups as privacy breaches now.

The Ministry of Education is the latest Government department to admit to a privacy breach.? Read more »

Longstone resigns, Is Hekia next?

Lesley Longstone has fallen on her?sword?for all the stuff ups in Education:

Secretary of Education Lesley Longstone has resigned following a series of problems including the class size debacle and the implementation of the Novopay pay system.

Former Public Service chief executive Peter Hughes has been seconded as Acting Chief Executive and Secretary for Education, and will take up his role from 9 February.

The State Services Commission will advertise for the permanent role in the New Year.

“Following very careful thought and discussion, Lesley and I have decided that the best interests of the Ministry would be served by her stepping down and the appointment of a new Chief Executive,” State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie said in a statement.

Longstone’s biggest mistake was trying to play stroppy civil servant and Princess Hekia didn’t like or enjoy that. She is not one to brook people showing her up.

One wonders though when she will fall on her sword. The word around the beltway is that though John Key would like to see the back of Hekia Parata and her never-ending omnishambles performance he feels he can’t axe her because he was the one who waxed lyrical about her abilities and doesn’t want any splash back.

Instead of pushing the inept David Carter forwards into the Speakership so he can rehabilitate Nick Smith, perhaps he should knife Hekia to achieve the same aims.

What I do wonder though is if John Key of?Merrill?Lynch would have tolerated such ineptitude from his staff? Somehow I doubt it. She would have been shown the exit and told her belongings will be sent on by courier.

John Key the Prime Minister though seems to have become squeamish in dealing with subordinates who fail to fire.

They’re dreamin’ if they think it is that low

Jared Savage has written an article about benefit fraud. Apparently, shock horror, it has trebled from 5 years ago:

Benefit fraud cost taxpayers a record $22.6 million last year, and nine social welfare staff were sacked for ripping off the system.

Figures released to the?Herald?under the Official Information Act show fraud detected by the Ministry of Social Development has tripled from $7.5 million five years ago.

At that time, the ministry set up a fraud intelligence unit because of an international trend towards increasingly elaborate scams, including the use of stolen and faked identities, said chief executive Peter Hughes.

The ministry had also been embarrassed by?Wayne Patterson, who used 123 fake identities to steal $3.4 million over two years – or $56,000 a fortnight – before he was caught in 2006 and jailed for eight years.

His offending is still the largest benefit fraud – the second largest amount stolen was $571,000 in 2008.

Oh right so it tripled because they are detecting it better…that is a good thing.

However it hasn’t tripled, the fraud has always been there and under Labour there was a dis-inclination to care about it.

But let me tell you…their fraud is quite a bit larger than $22 million. That is only what they publicly admit to. In private the numbers are more like $200 million. The trouble is most of the staff who can do anything about this are wombles who wear grey Julius Marlow double zip shoes, tan knee socks, tan walk shorts and yellow shorts with big lapels, even in summer they ear their grey cardigan with leather buttons. I know this because I have met them.

Back in 2000 their state of the art fraud department consisted of the aforementioned womble and a couple of helpers using state of the art analysis tools like Excel.

Proper data visualisation tools or?appropriately designed farud detections suites were and probably still are non-existant. I know this must be the case because otherwise ?the cases like Wayne Patterson’s wouldn’t be happening.

Seriously Way Cool

Dean Kamen is a billionaire, he is eccentric and he invents seriously cool technologies.

His latest creation is called the P.U.M.A and is a collaboration with GM and extend the Segway into something far more useful. I could see how I could actually use this. I never could see the point of the Segway. One of these in the back of the BlogMobile would be cool.