From an original purchase of a piece of land for 25 pounds, Rangiora High School, as a result of prudent financial management over 131 years, has built up assets of $18M. Those assets are held under the High School Reserves in the Education Lands Act, 1949.
I want to get right to the nub. (The information used in this posting has been assembled by a number of people using the Official Information Act, or I have gathered myself, or I have been informed by my source within the ministry.)
The assets referred to belong (or did belong) to the school community under the control of the principal and board of trustees.
Five years ago, three board members arrived with their own agenda in relation to the assets. While contributing to the main action, these three are only bit players, and I don’t want to be side-tracked by their antics.
In fighting off these bit players, Rangiora High School referred the matter to the ministry, where the $18M came to the attention of Hekia Parata.
The school had gained or was about to gain funding for new school buildings (around $15M I believe). When Hekia heard about the $18M, and saving money was all the education rage, she listened with greater attention to the bit players and, as a deviation, subsequently formed plan of her own to take-over the school and strip it of its assets.
But there were two obstructions to her plan: the board of trustees and the principal; and a caveat on how any proceeds of land sales can be used.
The board of trustees and the principal had to be got rid of because they administered the assets on behalf of the community.
What Hekia needed was the assets being administered on behalf of the ministry.
So the board was sacked and the principal put on leave and officially gagged by a commissioner who had been appointed on farcically spurious grounds. This was all a pretext for transferring assets from the control of the school community to that of Hekia.
A commissioner is responsible to the ministry not the school or community and, in this case, should be seen as an asset-stripper sent in by those who control her.
The commissioner has gone to extraordinary lengths to gain ‘evidence’ to undermine the caveat. A caveat that meant proceeds from any land sales must be like-for-like (though still allowing for some accruing interest to be spent on the school).
The minister through the commissioner has gained control of the assets that properly belong to the school community to be administered by their elected representatives in accordance with the law.
I have hundreds of pages of information that make it clear that under the caveat, proceeds from land sales must be spent like-for-like.
At last the commissioner and ministry have now shown their hand.
The commissioner, in the strangest of newsletters to parents says:
As you may know, it has long been understood in the community that there was a caveat in place requiring the funds from the 2007 sale of a re-zoned parcel of land, south of Kippenberger Avenue, to be used for a future farm purchase. When I was reviewing all of the legal documentation for the use of the school property, I could find no documentation relating to this on the school’s files.
I want to assure readers this is utter nonsense: I have in my possession a considerable number school documents referring to the caveat, explaining it, reaffirming it.
This invidious newsletter was sent out in duplicitous style in the last week of the school year; parliament is closing down for two months so questions can’t be asked in the House; and just as the principal was about to return to school, the commissioner demanded another health certificate – all this is ruthless but also desperate. Hekia and the ministry are boxed in, counting on New Zealand closing down for December-January giving them time to use their legal and propaganda resources to break out free of sanction and with the schools’ assets over their shoulders like a renegade Santa. This wicked behaviour must not be allowed to happen.
Unless the community combines with those who are fighting for justice for the principal and board, and the protection of assets for the children of North Canterbury – when school recommences, they may well find those assets greatly diminished.
I read the case against the principal and board and, as a former senior inspector of schools, immediately recognised it as a totally put-up job. And now we know that that put-up job was to open the way for an officially-sanctioned illegal heist on the assets of a school made possible by the ruthless sacking of a board and a defamation of a principal. This is a matter for the Auditor-General to investigate the asset ill-doing; a parliamentary inquiry into the use of commissioners; and a case to the employment court regarding the principal – even a call to the police for conspiracy to harm.