Education Minister in Over His Head
"Education Minister Chris Hipkins is already in over his head," says ACT Leader David Seymour after the Minister sort-of
cancelled four Partnership Schools who have been contracted to open in 14 months' time.
"If this is how he does business," says Seymour, "then he is going to find Government very tough."
"The Sponors of these schools are passionate educators who were required to demonstrate community support for their
schools before their applications were accepted. He's not only putting out those sponsors, but whole communities who
wanted the schools.
"One of those Sponsors, who already operate Te Kura Maori o Waatea and are contracted to open Waatea High at the
beginning of 2019, is very closely connected to Labour MP Willie Jackson. Given the official position of the Iwi
Leaders' Forum is to support Partnership Schools, where on earth are Labour's Maori Caucus on this issue?
"Mr Hipkins has previously said that he will take schools on a case-by-case basis. Why then is he opposed to Vanguard
Military School, whose Auckland campus is among the top ten high schools in Auckland, from opening their second school
in Christchurch, where they have demonstrated demand for their offering?
"Mr Hipkins will find that it is not simple to cancel contracts that the Crown has enetered into, but he appears to be
getting ahead of the details already. The rest of the education sector and New Zealand parents should be very wary of an
Education Minister who cares little for educators or for ideology when his political aymasters come knocking.
Background on the four Partnership Schools contracted to receive students in 2019:
• City Senior School in Central Auckland, sponsored by City Senior School Limited, will have a mission to nurture
and support young people with a particular focus on becoming innovative and creative global citizens. It will be a
co-educational senior secondary school for years 11-13, with an opening roll of 100 students and a maximum roll of 300
• Tūranga Tangata Rite in Gisborne, sponsored by Te Runanga o Tūranganui a Kiwa, will focus primarily on Māori
students with a, ‘by iwi for iwi’ approach. It will be a co-educational junior secondary school for years 9-11 with an
opening roll of 45 students and a maximum roll of 55 students.
• Vanguard Military School Christchurch in Christchurch, will promote attitudinal, behavioural and academic
excellence and encourage training and employment pathways beyond school. It will be a co-educational senior secondary
school for years 11-13, with an opening roll 120 students and a maximum roll of 210 students.
• Waatea High in South Auckland, sponsored by Te Whare Wananga O MUMA Limited, a subsidiary of the Manukau Urban
Māori Authority, will focus on priority learners and have a ‘Māori for Māori’ philosophy. It will be a co-educational
bi-lingual secondary school for years 9-13, with an opening roll of 50 and a maximum roll of 145 students. The school
will complement the sponsor’s existing early childhood education centre and primary year partnership school, Te Kura
Māori o Waatea to provide a complete education pathway.