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'NZSTA has failed to respond to information request regarding the Cunliffes'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) has failed to respond to an information request under the Privacy Act within the statutory twenty working days while simultaneously publishing The 12 Privacy Principles, a training module for school boards.

NZSTA is contracted by the Ministry of Education to provide a range of services to school boards including training and advice on privacy and information requests.

Regan Cunliffe requested NZSTA provide information held about, and relating to, him and his family under urgency.

In contradiction to NZSTA's own advice to boards, the organisation did not acknowledge receipt of the request and did not provide the requested information within the statutory twenty working days.

In December, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner concluded in an investigation that the Helensville Primary School Board of Trustees had interfered with the Cunliffes privacy, had no proper basis to withhold information, and to release the information without undue delay.

Part of the information requested includes details of an allegation made by the Board to the Ministry of Education that the Cunliffes made "direct threats" during mediation in September 2018 in relation to the "safety and well-being of staff".

The Cunliffes have denied this happened and made a request under the Privacy Act for the Board to release the information they held to identify what those "direct threats" were.

Despite the request of the Cunliffes, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s request for a summary to be released, the Board is continuing to refuse to state what they were.

The information that Regan Cunliffe requested from NZSTA includes a subset of the information that the Board is also withholding from him and is for the specific period of time directly after the mediation.

NZSTA facilitated the mediation between the Cunliffes and the Helensville Primary School Board of Trustees.

"Both the Helensville Primary School Board of Trustees and NZSTA are refusing to reveal what they communicated about my wife and I amongst themselves following the mediation. I've tried to get this information two different ways now and both are refusing to provide it," said Regan Cunliffe.

"How can NZSTA have any credibility when it’s ‘Do as we say, not as we do’? I’d love to know what advice NZSTA is actually providing boards behind the scenes," he added.

A Limited Statutory Manager was appointed to Helensville Primary School by the Ministry of Education in December.

The Helensville Primary School website lists the Board of Trustees as Nicola Keen-Biggelaar, David Allen, Cara Pinnell, Israil Foreman, Dan Wood, Tania McCorkindale, David Munro, and Principal Deborah Heasman.

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