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U-turn by Government on school transport welcomed

19 July 2005

U-turn by Government on school transport welcomed by trustees

The New Zealand School Trustees Association welcomes the Government’s decision to pull back from controversial proposed changes to directly resourced school bus arrangements.

NZSTA President Chris Haines says the announcement, made today at the Bus and Coach Conference in Napier, is one that will be welcomed by those boards of trustees that have elected to manage their own bus services.

The announcement effectively puts on hold any policy changes to the funding formula for the direct-resourced school transport organised by boards of trustees for 2005 and 2006.

In addition, the government has announced that in the interim, the current rates of funding will increase by approx 10%.

Chris Haines says the Government’s U-turn brings to a halt a policy proposal to introduce a half way point beyond which buses would not be able to pick up students.

“The initial policy suffered from a lack of consultation with the sector. While a subsequent offer was made for school communities to comment on the way the policy would be implemented, there was little opportunity for feedback on the policy itself.”

After representations, the Minister did agree to extend the consultation period, for further discussion with affected organisations on both the policy and the implementation, Chris Haines says.

“However, today’s announcement to defer the whole issue is a far better outcome for our members.”

ENDS

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