Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is calling on the Government to meet with
representatives of teachers and principals and address their concerns
about the Government’s newly announced rules for Level 3 that would enable parents who want to return to work to
voluntarily send their kids back to school.
“I am supporting the teachers and principals who are upset that the Government has, without proper consultation,
announced these rules that will see teachers acting as ‘babysitters’, and potentially put students and communities at
risk,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.
“It doesn’t make sense to open schools, kura and ECE centres for the children of only some workers who want to return to
work, and to treat schools differently to businesses, which would still not be able to open their customer-facing
operations under Level 3.
“The new rules create a confusing situation where schools and kura won’t be able to adequately plan for how many
students will be at school, and how many will be at home undertaking distance learning with teachers.
“It’s unrealistic to expect schools and kura, and especially ECE centres, to have the capacity to enforce strict public
health measures including physical distancing.
“We should not risk lifting restrictions too early for the sake of the economy - the safety and wellbeing of our
children and communities must be the paramount concern. Now is the time to focus on increased testing in an strengthened
effort to eradicate COVID-19.
“The Government needs to listen to the concerns of teachers, principals and their advocates and rethink the Level 3
education rules so that educators and parents have confidence that children will be kept safe when they return to school
and the role of teachers won’t be undermined.
“As we reimagine the way we run our economy and society, there is also an opportunity to reimagine how we educate our
young people to ensure equity and fairness. We shouldn’t rush and undermine that opportunity,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.