Tracey Martin MP
Spokesperson for Education
14 September 2012
Christchurch Education Changes a ‘Slap in the Face’– NZ FIRST
New Zealand First has urged the Government to improve its consultation process and involve the people over major changes being proposed to Christchurch schools as part of the earthquake recovery plan.
More than 30 schools are being merged or closed and the way the announcement was made has been described as “callous and insensitive” by NZ First education spokesperson, Tracey Martin.
She says it is accepted that there will have to be changes as part of the rebuilding programme but the Government does not seem to understand that schools are more than ‘just a cluster of buildings”.
“To bring the principals into a sterile meeting environment where ministers sat above them on a stage while these education leaders were spoken to like children shows how little the government understands education and the people within it.
“This is very personal. These schools and their communities invest themselves in these properties which enclose the peoples’ hopes and aspirations for their children.”
Ms Martin points out that Christchurch has a proud history of educational excellence and says no government has the right to throw that tradition into a rubbish skip like earthquake rubble.
“We call on ministers to involve the entire education community in the reorganisation and rebuilding of the Christchurch education system. This means the parents, teachers and community leaders, and especially the boards of trustees.
“These boards are responsible for property issues at their respective schools but the Government bypassed them and instead used school principals as their message boys.
“The announcement yesterday of mergers and closing was like a slap across the face to Christchurch education and it must not happen again,” says Ms Martin.