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Secretary for Education the fall guy for inept Minister

19 Dec 2012


The Public Service Association says it’s clear that the Secretary for Education has become the fall guy for an inept Minister.


Lesley Longstone, who came from Britain to take up the position, has resigned after just a year in the job. 


PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott says the resignation has undoubtedly come as the result of Ministerial pressure and interference.


“Lesley Longstone was put under enormous pressure by the Education Minister.  She has been forced to front the issues while the Minister has consistently ducked for cover.  It’s time for Hekia Parata to take some responsibility for her own mismanagement rather than making others pay the price.”


The PSA also believes it’s time for the States Services Commission to take stock of the way it appoints and supports chief executives. 


Mrs Longstone’s resignation follows the resignation of Work and Income head Janet Grossman, who was also headhunted from Britain, but returned earlier this year after just nine months in the position.


Brenda Pilott says “the Commission needs to think long and hard about making overseas appointments and consider the unique complexities, demands and pressures of the New Zealand context.”


“High level public sector management requires not only competence but a deep understanding and experience of the issues past and present.”


“Lesley Longstone was allowed to walk into the eye of a storm.  I think it’s fair to question whether she was armed with the right knowledge and experience to weather it, and whether she was given adequate support – particularly in the face of strong Ministerial challenges and very high political stakes,” says Brenda Pilott.

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