Wellington replaces Tolley in shock Cabinet reshuffle

Education Minister Anne Tolley finds herself demoted to the backbenches in a shock Cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister John Key today.

Tolley will be replaced by Merv Wellington, who previously served as Minister of Education in Sir Robert Muldoon’s Cabinet between 1978 and 1984. Wellington, plucked from backbench obscurity by Sir Robert, was a controversial figure in the 1978-84 government, presiding over substantial and wide-ranging cuts in education spending and decreeing that the New Zealand flag was to be flown at all school assemblies. He died in 2003.

“Anne has been a hardworking and competent Minister, said Mr Key, announcing the reshuffle. I am confident she will find something to do as a backbencher where her talents will be appreciated.

“However, Merv was a fierce advocate for excellence in education and those views put him ahead of his time. I have always thought he deserved another chance, and given the challenges of implementing National Standards and reshaping the Ministry of Education, I have decided Merv is the man for the job.”

The Prime Minister said he was relaxed about the constitutional precedent of appointing a deceased Member of Parliament to Cabinet. “Our Constitution is always evolving. The previous Government appointed Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford as Government spokespeople outside Cabinet even though the Greens were not a part of that Government. I don’t think appointing the late Merv Wellington to Cabinet sets any greater constitutional precedent than that did,” he said.

When asked how she felt about her demotion, Mrs Tolley replied “Currently a large number of assessment tools are used by schools, and no one standard applies across them. That is what national standards are. So the existing assessment tools will remain in place, and the national standards will go right across all those tools, so that it will not matter which school a child goes to, or which assessment tool a particular school uses, because there will be a standard that is national. That is the essence of national standards, so the inter-school moderation is exactly that. Parents will know, whichever school their children attend— Well, it just shows that you do not understand— It just shows that you do not understand what national standards are…”

The late Merv Wellington was unavailable for comment, but a spokesperson said he was delighted with the opportunity to return to Cabinet to complete his unfinished business.

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7 thoughts on “Wellington replaces Tolley in shock Cabinet reshuffle

  1. Seems reasonable. Obviously Key decided that if Act could bring back Roger Douglas from a state of moribundity, National could do so with Merv Wellington.

  2. jcuknz, has it ever occurred to you that “educationalists” are academics who have expertise in education.

    Tolley, who has none, should be relying on their advice and expertise, rather than portraying them as the enemy. One of her problems is that the internationally accepted evidence does not support her position on National Standards.

    Her other problem is that she seems to be either too thick or too ideologically committed to the policy to consider the evidence.

  3. I would accept your argument Toad but for the impression that the academics are merely trying to hold on to their jobs in opposing the Lady. They are so insecure that they are scared stiff that the figures will suggest they are incompetant. Sad really becuase most are doing a good job.
    Most are conducting tests already so what is wrong with a standard test?

  4. “the impression that the academics are merely trying to hold on to their jobs in opposing the Lady”, jcuknz,……sadly, has done much to make me feel that your own teachers have been seriously incompetent.Clearly they failed to help you understand the difference in function and expertise between academic educationalists and practising primary teachers,on the one hand, and opionated-inflexible-laypersons-holding-cabinet-posts on the other.

  5. One might expect the ‘experts’ to know what they were talking about except when they appear to be at odds with those in their field and of course numerous members of the public. They also are unfortunate to have a record of being dominated by a millitant union. It seems somewhat like the little boy who cried “Wolf” too many times. I also firmly believe that in their unworldly zeal they have dug themselves into a hole which is very muddy with their rejection of corporal punishment.

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