A developing story about the punitive use of a school commissioner at Rangiora High raises questions about a promise the government made two years ago to fix a system of school interventions that was clearly broken then.

At Rangiora High, the respected local principal Peggy Burrows is reportedly the subject of bullying by a school commissioner. At the centre of the school’s difficulties is the proceeds of a land sale. The school was required to sell farm land it owned, on which it ran its agricultural programme, when the land was rezoned for urban use. The school intended to use the money to buy other farmland so that it could continue the programme.

Kelvin Smythe at his blog Networkonnect has run a series of blogs on the subject. NZ First MP Tracey Martin became involved, issuing a press release that asked why a competent and democratically elected board had been sacked.

But the issue is also a reprise of a series of scandals from a couple of years ago, which were first raised by EA magazine. Very well paid commissioners and statutory managers appeared to be rorting a system that requires schools to pay for them, although schools have very little control over the process. There also appeared to be instances of commissioners or managers being used for political payback.

Does anyone have more detail about the situation in Rangiora – and who might be behind the sacking of the board?

After the issue gained public traction, and NZEI called for an independent review, the minister did promise to review the system. Last heard of that.