16 Jun 2015

Minister urged to sack Kohanga board

8:00 pm on 16 June 2015

Labour's spokesperson for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, is demanding that the Minister of Education ask the members of the Kōhanga Reo National Trust to resign.

Kohanga Reo National Trust HQ in Wellington.

Kohanga Reo National Trust HQ in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

In Parliament today, the minister, Hekia Parata, refused to express confidence in the members of the trust.

Ms Parata has suggested that the trust come up with a modern governance model, rather than the current structure where trustees become lifetime board members.

Ms Mahuta said Ms Parata had a responsibility to the kōhanga whānau to ensure improved, accountable and modernised governance.

She said if Ms Parata did not have confidence that the board members could deliver that, then she should stop stalling and ask them to resign.

Nanaia Mahuta

Nanaia Mahuta Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

"Ms Parata knew about the problems facing the board and its management systems when information was brought to her attention by former member Toni Waho. She should have acted then, but didn't," Ms Mahuta said.

"As long as the minister fiddles, nothing will change. Too much is at stake and decisive action is required.

"The minister must also make it clear whether this year's budget appropriation to kōhanga reo will be at risk if the board does not make the necessary improvements to its governance.

"The board has recently appointed a new CEO and, if the minister acts now, this is a real opportunity to create change that will make the movement and organisation more sustainable for the future."

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