Government moves from ‘unfair’ to ‘stealth mode’ to limit public criticism of the impact of school closures
Prominent Māori educator and Te Arawa iwi leader Sir Toby Curtis says “here we go again” over the latest Government move to limit public discussion of changes to the Education Act.
On Wednesday 1 August, the Education and Workforce Select Committee wrote to partnership schools seeking their views on further amendments to the Education Act proposed by Education Minister Chris Hipkins. The deadline provided for public submissions was Monday 6 August.
“Three working days is a ludicrously inadequate timeframe for public consultation on major legislative amendments, and it is indicative of this government’s agenda to shut down public discussion over partnership schools/kura hourua closures.”
“The unwillingness of the Government to consult New Zealanders on the closure of high-performing partnership school knows no bounds,” says Sir Toby, who along with Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and Dame Tariana Turia has lodged a Treaty of Waitangi claim over the Crown’s failure to consult with Māori over the Minister’s decisions.
“According to the Supplementary Order Paper, the Minister proposed his changes on Tuesday 3 July, yet he sat on it for nearly a month before providing a copy of it to the schools.” Sir Toby says. “When his government does consult, they do so in stealth mode, providing the tiniest window possible for public feedback or dissent.”
“A great many people with an interest in this issue who went to the trouble of writing submissions on the amendment, including me, have not been informed of this significant additional amendment. The Committee should call for submissions again from all interested parties on this new SOP and provide sufficient time for them to do so.”
“The truth is, this Minister doesn’t care or want to hear what the public has to say about his push to shut down schools, and this is exactly why we are pursuing our claim on behalf of Māori students, parents and the wider New Zealand community. We all deserve to be heard,” concludes Sir Toby.
For more information on partnership school closures & the Treaty Claim, please visit: www.saveourschools.nz