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NAPIER MAIL, NOVEMBER 23, 2011
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New phone books slated
By CAROLYN VEEN
Who would have thought a little
old telephone book could cause
such outrage? Little being the
Yellow might be big in the
communications industry, but
the small print in the latest
phone book defies anyone to
read it without squinting, let
alone a magnifying glass.
Bay View resident David
Sharp is one of many unhappy
The phone book has only one
purpose: to read the numbers.
It s like putting out a motor car
that doesn t run or a light bulb
that doesn t shine. How bizarre
is that? It s an insult to the trees
they used, he says.
manager Charlene White
defends the decision to reduce
the size of the phone book.
We have made a range of
changes to the Yellow and White
pages in a bid to make them
more user-friendly. Prior to
introducing the books, we ran
focus groups where people told
us that the smaller combined
format is easier to use and
handle, meaning it s more likely
to be kept by the phone and used
more regularly. The new format
is also more environmentally
friendly as we estimate the
amount of paper used by the
new directories is almost 5 per
cent less than before.
Members of Age Concern are
also unhappy with the new
The feedback has been ter-
ribly negative, to put it nicely,
Sarah Potter from Age Concern,
in Napier, says.
On our national website,
there is a poll for people to regis-
ter their vote, and so far the
majority of people are not at all
Yellow s sympathetic reaction
to the elderly complaining the
print is too small to read, is luke
We are disappointed to hear
that a small number of people
are unhappy, as we take cus-
tomer feedback very seriously.
The font size is in line with
international standards. We
always welcome feedback and
will continue to monitor reaction
to the improved books over the
coming months, Ms White says.
Board alleges 'hit squad'
Standard issue: Nelson Park School Board of Trustees member Mandy Johnson and principal Nevan Bridge
say ''it's about kids not being labelled as failures''.
A Napier school principal and board say
a Ministry of Education hit squad held
a gun to their heads to make them com-
ply with the National Standards policy.
At an emergency Nelson Park School
Board of Trustees meeting with the min-
istry s Napier representatives Richard
Roscoe and Neil Kirton, the board was
told to agree there and then to comply
with the standards or a statutory man-
ager would be appointed to the school,
board member Mandy Johnson says.
Rather than be sacked, the board
backed down and agreed to insert a para-
graph required by the ministry into its
charter saying it will collect the data
required, but is considering legal action.
The board understood that if there was
a dispute over a school charter then
negotiations were required but the minis-
try approach was threats and bullying ,
not negotiation, Ms Johnson says.
A statutory manager would have cost
the school $180 a day -- that s a lot of
school readers , she says.
The school community backed the
board s stance on National Standards but
had earlier indicated they didn t want the
board to get itself sacked over it.
The ministry s regional education pro-
gramme manager Pauline Cleaver
declined to discuss the bullying
allegations, saying that the ministry has
been clear it expects all boards to comply
with their legal obligations. Where a
board has refused to submit a charter
that meets legislative requirements, the
ministry may use the interventions avail-
able under the Education Act 1989, to
ensure there is no risk to school
operations or student achievement .
Napier MP Chris Tremain says the
government is determined to address
With 20 per cent of our kids leaving
school without the skills needed in a
modern economy we need to invest early
on. National standards allows us to
measure progress and to focus resources
Principal Nevan Bridge says he has
assured the staff we will be doing abso-
lutely nothing in terms of National
Standards this year because we re almost
at the end of the year, we ve done our
assessments already and we believe they
are trustworthy, reliable and robust .
We re fundamentally against it. We
don t believe in it -- it serves no edu-
cational purpose, he says.
During the summer break he ll con-
sider how the school uses its data to com-
In my 25 years as a principal . . . we ve
never had a Ministry of Education fulfil
the role they re doing at the moment
which is moving from support to surveil-
lance and that s how I see it -- they re a
We tried to say where is there room to
discuss it but they just held a gun to our
Ms Johnson says the principle at stake
is about kids
kids not being
before they ve
first breath at
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