PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 05 May 2023 -
Govt must explain cynical attendance data release
The Government must explain how a senior minister did not know her staff actively delayed publishing critical school attendance data only to release it alongside a political announcement, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“The Education Minister’s claim that she was not aware her office delayed the release of Term 3 2022 attendance data is simply not credible.
“Jan Tinetti first received this attendance data on 14 December, but it wasn’t released until ten weeks later – perfectly timed with a political announcement about truancy.
“Emails released under the OIA clearly show that staff in Ms Tinetti’s office instructed the Ministry of Education to hold back the data.
“The Minister’s claim she was not aware would mean she was completely in the dark about what was happening in her own office, and that she simply assumed it was a coincidence that data was released ten weeks later on the same day as her political announcement on truancy on 21 February.
“Does the Minister seriously expect us to believe this?
“Correspondence between the Ministry of Education and National shows the release of the data usually depends on the Minister’s approval, and Ms Tinetti has been the minister responsible for attendance data since 2020.
“The Government needs to answer serious questions over why political staff in the Minister of Education’s office were able to delay official data needed by schools to lift attendance and if the Minister was aware of their actions before she categorically claimed she had no say over its release.
“Our students deserve better than a Government prepared to put its own politics ahead of what is best for our children.”