6 May 2013
Last chance for Maori Party to listen its voters – PPTA
This week will be the last chance for the Maori Party to listen to those with the highest stake in the future of Maori children – its own voters.
Submissions by the very groups the government says it wants to help with its Education Amendment Bill – including Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu - have made it very clear they do not want charter schools, PPTA president Angela Roberts said.
Roberts urged the party, which has voiced concerns of its own about the legislation, to heed the submissions – and particularly Ngai Tahu’s – before using its deciding vote during the bill’s second reading to inflict charter schools on New Zealand’s children.
Ngai Tahu’s submission says the proposed legislation has “fundamental flaws” and recommends all the sections of the bill empowering the establishment of charter schools be removed.
It describes the schools as creating “an opportunity for the crown to opt out of its responsibility for positively increasing educational achievement for all Maori” and specifically requests that trials not be conducted in any area that has high risk students.
“When an iwi representing such a large proportion of its voters is so deeply concerned you would hope alarm bells would start to ring,” Roberts said.
It was disappointing that the Maori Party appeared to have aligned itself with the Act Party which had historically never shown any interest in the wellbeing of Maori New Zealanders, Roberts said.
Meeting the needs of Maori students can be done under the current system as long as resources were put in the right places and Ngai Tahu’s submission recommended supporting programmes already making advancements in the area of Maori achievement – such as the recently scrapped Te Kotahitanga.
Voting against the legislation would be an opportunity for the Maori Party to show leadership by doing what’s best for Maori students, Roberts said.