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School Board withholding almost 4,000 emails

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

More than 3,900 emails are still being withheld by the Helensville Primary School Board of Trustees from Regan Cunliffe, more than two months after the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) requested they be released without further delay.

"I’m not sure what I should be more concerned about. That there are that many or that they really don’t want me to see them," Mr Cunliffe said.

The 3,900 figure was disclosed by David Munro last night during his report to the board where he openly discussed matters and named private individuals during the public part of the meeting.

Newly elected board chair Daniel Wood addressed Mr Cunliffe in an email sent just before midnight last night:

"On behalf of the Helensville Primary School Board, I am extending an apology for the breach of your privacy tonight by Mr Munro. The OIA Update is designed to be high-level Report informing the Board if there are any new requests. It is intended to increase our effectiveness under the Act, with no detailed information or names mentioned, to minimise In-Committee time. I was surprised at both the content and approach David took- which I assure you is not representative of how we wish to behave as a Board. I will be addressing this directly with Mr Munro."

"What we witnessed last night was further grandstanding and hypocrisy from Mr Munro," Mr Cunliffe said. "He appears more than happy to hide behind privacy when it suits him while blatantly breaching mine and others."

"The Board has continued to employ Mr Munro for almost a year and a half," Mr Cunliffe continued. "The amount of money they have paid him as a so-called expert could have helped solve their current school camp funding issues."

"It is my view that there is no justification for the obscene amount of money Mr Munro has invoiced the school for, ultimately to not provide me with the information I am entitled to. His stalling, delays, and the required intervention by other agencies is appalling behavior which no school should ever inflict on a family."

"I believe the decision by the school to spend resources in an attempt to prevent the release of information is a misuse of public funds. If they had just released the information, the costs would have been a fraction of what they have been allowed to balloon out to."

Mr Cunliffe attended the Board meeting last night along with four other non-board members. Mr Cunliffe did not respond to Mr Munro’s question during his report as there was no motion by the chair to grant him speaking rights.

In December, the OPC concluded that the Helensville Primary School Board of Trustees had interfered with the Cunliffe’s privacy, had no proper basis to withhold information, and to release the information without further delay.

The OPC also requested the Board release a summary report in relation to their claim that the Cunliffe’s made "direct threats" during mediation in September 2018. Mr Munro did not address this in his report.

David Munro was co-opted onto the Helensville Primary School Board of Trustees in November 2018 at the request of NZSTA.

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