Perplexing decision over dumping of WITT boss

21:22, Feb 01 2013

It has often been said that fact is stranger than fiction.

The decision of the Witt Council, the governing body of the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki, not to reappoint chief executive Richard Handley for a further two years, as he requested, is surely proof of that.

The Witt Council is made up of four members appointed by the Minister of Tertiary Education: chairwoman Mary Bourke, deputy chairman Malcolm Inglis, Elanga Ekanayake and Ruakere Hond. The council itself appoints another four members and they are Jackie Broughton, Paul Goldsmith, Rex Hendry and Gavin Woolley.

One of the council's functions under the Education Act 1989 is to, "Appoint a Chief Executive in accordance with the State Sector Act 1988, and monitor and evaluate his or her performance".

Somehow, these eight wise men and women decided to refuse Mr Handley's modest request. Indeed, word on the street is that a frustrated Mr Handley offered a compromise deal of staying on until the end of 2013, but even that was refused.

It's fair to say the news came as a bombshell to many, especially those who have had something to do with this outstanding man of unique qualities. Much more is written about him elsewhere in today's newspaper, so I will restrict my own observations to one question - the one on the lips of many in Taranaki.



What is it that you eight know that the rest of us don't? Would you do the people of Taranaki the courtesy of explaining why you no longer want to employ him as chief executive? We'd like to know.

Meanwhile, in other parts of this wonderful country of ours, there is more evidence that today's enlightened times aren't exactly working that well.

As we are continually told by Those Who Know Better, many of the beneficiaries we pay for are victims of this terrible society we live in and it is their right to have as many children as they want.

In July Social Development Minister Paula Bennett decided she should do something positive about the problem.

After all, numerous advocates for the downtrodden had told her that it wasn't the fault of the beneficiaries that they got pregnant, they simply couldn't afford contraception.

So Ms Bennett announced the Government would make them an offer they couldn't refuse.

The Government would pay for female beneficiaries, and their daughters aged 16-19, to get long-term contraception, including implants, intra-uterine devices and the Depo Provera injection. She figured $1 million would cover the costs for the first four years and would be enough to fund thousands of grants covering doctors' fees and contraceptive costs each year.

Sometimes, though, you can't help those who won't help themselves. By the end of December only 35 women around the country had actually taken advantage of the offer. That's right, 35, one more than the number of Labour MPs.

Of the 35, a mere six were from Auckland. The city with huge problems with overcrowding and all the health issues associated with it. The place where so many children go to school without breakfast and it's all the Government's fault.

That poor response to the scheme, which all GPs were aware of, provides a perfect snapshot of why intergenerational state-dependency is here to stay.

It starts with poor parents who can't be bothered to lift a finger to improve their lot.

Finally, there was yet another example of a judge letting a serious criminal out on bail while awaiting trial and, would you believe it, the cad ran off to Australia!

Whatever happened to trust? But wait, it gets worse. This cad, with an "appalling" list of convictions, cut off his electronic bracelet and fled across the Tasman. He didn't even have to surrender his passport. (It later emerged that he changed his name and secured another passport.)

And yes, there is still more to this tale. The 42-year-old Christchurch man was due to go on trial on serious sex charges in Greymouth this week, but police told the judge they believed he was now in Sydney. They were trying to find him, but Monday's trial was aborted.

The bail decision was made by Judge Raoul Neave, despite "strenuous" opposition from the Crown.

At the bail hearing, the judge said the man had an "appalling" list of convictions, including 17 for family violence.

Here is the unbelievable bit. When he was granted electronic bail to an address in Christchurch, he didn't have the money. So Work and Income paid the $1500 bond and his weekly rent of $300.

Naturally, Work and Income would have done its dough when he scarpered. But could anyone tell me just when that became part of its function?

It would have been much better to have let the ratbag stay in jail. But that, dear readers, is what you pay your taxes for in 2013!

Taranaki Daily News