Govt. must re-think approach to school closures
Government must re-think approach to school
Local Government New Zealand
For immediate release on 27 February 2004
Local Government New Zealand is calling on the Government to re-think its approach to the five year moratorium on school closures.
Yesterday and today, mayors and councillors at Local Government New Zealand Zone Five and Six meetings, representing all councils in the South Island, passed a resolution condemning the decision not to extend the moratorium to the 71 schools that are marked for closure and those that have recently closed.
The Zone 6 National Council representative, Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno, said that the only school mergers or closures that should be proceeding were those driven by the needs of the community. She and other local body leaders attending the meeting criticized the lack of coherent methodology in the review and the inconsistencies between different areas.
“We are calling on the Government to be consistent in its approach to school closures. This five year reprieve should not only be applied to schools that are currently under review but also to those schools that have been closed in recent months,” says David Owen, Chair of Local Government New Zealand’s Rural Sector Group.
“We are pleased that the Government has acknowledged that more work has to be done on school closures. However, why should some be penalized because they were ahead of others in the review process?” asks Mr Owen.
“We have consistently stated that schools are frequently the community centre, the holder of knowledge, the contributer of social capital and the maintenance of community networks within rural New Zealand. Education is also a key driver of economic development in a region. This criteria should be applied to all schools across New Zealand.”
“We urge the Government to re-consider extending the moratorium to all New Zealand schools and be mindful of the impact these reviews have on the wider community,” says Mr Owen.
Government New Zealand is the national voice of all 86
councils of New Zealand.