18 Jun 2015

Parata losing patience with Kohanga board

12:28 pm on 18 June 2015

Education Minister Hekia Parata is "highly dissatisified" and losing patience with the Kohanga Reo National Trust Board, she says.

National MP

Education Minister Hekia Parata Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Maori Television's Native Affairs programme this week revealed that an Internal Affairs review had found gross mismanagement of the board's wholly owned subsidiary, Te Pataka Ohanga.

Ms Parata told a parliamentary select committee yesterday she was still waiting for it to modernise its governance and was losing patience.

"I am most definitely not saying that I am satisfied. I am highly dissatisfied," she said.

"But I have to work through a process with them, and that is what I am doing."

Ms Parata today told Morning Report concerns about the financial management of Kohanga Reo had yet to be fully sorted out but that they were being addressed.

"They have a new chief executive as of two weeks ago," she said.

"The third and final piece of this is a new governance, and [that is] in the final stages of occurring."

Ms Parata wants a more modern governance structure, rather than letting board members keep life-time appointments.

But trust spokesman Derek Fox said Kohanga Reo members voiced their approval of the board at a national hui a year ago.

"The Kohanga Reo people there, more than 2000 of them, voted unanimously that this board should conclude the process that it started while negotiating with the Crown to settle its Waitangi Tribunal claims," he said.

Ms Parata said she expected the trust board to report back to her on its governance; Mr Fox said the board had agreed to review its governance and would keep the Government informed.

Labour Party Maori Development spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta said Ms Parata should stop stalling and ask the board to resign if she did not have confidence in it.