Today in Parliament I asked some questions about Hekia Parata’s conduct in responding to letters from teachers expressing their concerns about bigger class sizes. In response to those letters Hekia Parata has written to the Boards of Trustees and Principals employing those teachers, rather than responding directly to their correspondence.
That in itself is a real breach of the teachers privacy, but it gets worse when we learn that some of the teachers didn’t identify which school they teach at in their letters. So how did Hekia Parta know which Board of Trustees to send the responses to? If Hekia Parata accessed teachers personal records to identify which schools they worked at, that’s a very serious abuse of her position.
Every citizen has the right to send a letter to a government minister without fear that their concerns will be taken to their employer. But bullying looks to be a deliberate tactic for Hekia Parata. Earlier this year she threatened schools that were using newsletters to inform parents about the effect National’s plan to increase class sizes. Parents have a right to know that information. Hekia Parata’s attempt to bully schools into silence is disgraceful.
How can members of the public have confidence that their views are respected by this government, when teachers have had their privacy breached by the Minister of Education, when beneficiaries have had their personal information splashed all over the media by the Minister for Social Development, and when claimants to ACC can have no confidence that their sensitive information won’t be emailed all over the country?