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Countdown Begins To NZ's Biggest Democratic Event

Countdown Begins To New Zealand’s Biggest Democratic Event

Thousands of New Zealanders will be shouldertapped over the next few months and asked to “stand and be counted” for their children’s education.

The Trustee Elections 2001 campaign was officially launched in Wellington today by Prime Minister Helen Clark. The focus of the campaign is to encourage people to take the election motto – stand and be counted – to heart.

Tall Black Peter Pokai, fresh back from the Sydney Olympics, helped launch the elections showing people how to really stand tall and be counted in the lead up to next March’s election.

Cast members from the internationally renowned television show The Tribe also lent their support, joining current trustees and education sector representatives in marking the countdown .

The Trustee Elections 2001 is the fifth election since self-managed schools were introduced in 1989.

National Project Manager Janet Kelly says the election is an extremely significant event for all 2650 schools, as it determines how their schools will be run over the next three years.

“This is an opportunity for people to have real input into the direction of the school and their children’s education – those people who are elected will have their views heard for the next three years.

“Of course not everyone is in a position to stand, but they can still play a part by looking around for suitable candidates within their school community. Everyone shares the common goal of wanting their school to be in good hands.”

The 2001 Trustee Election is the fifth election since self-managed schools were introduced in 1989.

Janet Kelly says many people are surprised to learn that these elections are the biggest democratic election held in this country with 14,000 parent-elected representative positions nationwide.

About 20,000 people are expected to allow their names to be put forward for nomination.

“An estimated 100,000 parents and caregivers have already served on boards of trustees to date. That means New Zealand has the most number of educationalists per capita compared to any other country in the world.”

Janet Kelly says people who put their name forward to stand on a board have the opportunity to have real and significant input into their children’s education and the school community.

She says trustees also gain new skills and experiences from their involvement.

“The overwhelming majority of trustees see the experience as being positive. Not only do they see that their input does count and make a difference, but they also gain personal development along the way.”

Nominations for the elections open on February 28 for those parents wanting to stand in the elections, while the common voting date for schools is March 30.

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