I’ve been reading the harrowing tale of Pike River by Rebecca Macfie recently, and one of many things that struck me is how in so many cases information given to directors and share-holders was feel-good garbage, spun and polished to make sure that the money kept flowing and hard questions weren't asked.
Obviously Pike River is in a different league in terms of the potentially catastrophic impact of this phenomenon, but I think we’re seeing a similar class of ‘misinformation’ in documents like this:
This is from a report which went to Minister Parata in February. It’s about the charter school in Whangaruru, the one that the Ministry of Education said should not be opened as it wasn't going to be ready, and they had concerns about the capacity of the people involved to run a school.
- · Staff left in the first weeks
- · It never had the full contingent of teachers appointed
- · There were health and safety concerns from the outset
- · Relationships between school leaders broke down, leading the Ministry appointed facilitator to take over the running of the school
- · And we know that the facilities were not ready at the start of the term.
The point of this isn’t to single out this school for the rough time they’ve had. The Minister should never have signed them up, and the Ministry should not now be colluding with this terrible decision by sugar-coating the pill. But, as we know too well, this sort of fluff keeps the money flowing.
* The title of this post is from this description of Macfie's book on Pike River. "Shares in the company had been rapidly taken up by investors, swept away by predictions of extraordinary returns. Beneath the hype, though, lay mismanagement, mistakes and wilful blindness that would cost men their lives."