18 Mar 2013

Ex-employee in Parata's office pursues grievance

12:28 pm on 18 March 2013

A former staff member in the office of Education Minister Hekia Parata is pursuing a personal grievance against ministerial services.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei warns this could cost more taxpayer money, on top of the payout to former Secretary of Education Lesley Longstone.

Lesley Longstone, who was recruited from the UK, quit as the Ministry of Education's top official after just 13 months in the job, receiving a payout of $425,000.

Tension between Ms Longstone and Ms Parata was cited as one of the reasons for her departure.

Now a former office staffer is pursuing a personal grievance, which Ms Turei says does not reflect well on the minister.

This follows on from a number of reports of a high staff turnover and after the Lesley Longstone debacle, which cost the country nearly half a million dollars. The public are the ones who pay at the end of the day."

A senior private secretary was let go from the office last December, about the same time as Mrs Longstone's departure.

Three other private secretaries have also left the office, but it's understood that was not as a result of any disagreement with the minister but because they returned to the ministry to lead other projects.

The minister is declining any comment, saying it's a matter for ministerial services.