(This post is in part by way of explanation to passengers on board Flight NZ410 from Wellington to Auckland this morning, some of whom might have witnessed a somewhat odd exchange between me and Rodney Hide.)
Since Heather Roy was dumped as Minister responsible for special education I have been trying to find out what is happening with the review of Special Education. Heather had said publicly that it was due out in July or August, and my understanding was that it was before Cabinet the very week she was dumped. I have put in written questions asking for information about the review which were due for reply on the 26th of August but I have not had a response.
So this morning when I was on a plane to Auckland to visit, among other things, a couple of special schools, it was timely to see Rodney Hide get on the plane. As we stood up to disembark I asked if Rodney was indeed taking on the special education portfolio (he confirmed he was) and when the review was to be released. He responded by saying “when the government is ready.” Before I could go any further he said we could not expect cooperation from him on the review due to his issues about Labour’s approach on the super city. I said I was not asking about the Super City and that the review was important to a large number of parents, schools and students.
What followed was a tirade from Rodney as we walked up the air bridge about the Super City and related issues. I kept saying that I was interested in the review as many others are, and that Rodney really needed to be able to seperate out his portfolio issues. As he stopped and I walked on his tirade continued.
I would not normally report on an exchange like this, but his approach is not good enough. The whole special education community is waiting for the review to be released. As I was told today on my visits, it is holding up planning and development in schools. Parents and students involved in special education deal with enough stress and pressure as it is. They deserve far better than a Minister who can not deal with his anger about a completely unrelated issue.