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Mallard's Message: Don't Send Your Kids to School

Mallard's Message: Don't Send Your Kids to School

Friday 9 Nov 2001 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

Since Trevor Mallard became Education Minister, the Ministry of Education hasn't bothered to prosecute a single parent for not sending their children to school, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata revealed today.

"Parents are free to keep their kids at home fetching beer and cigarettes under Mr Mallard's Government.

"The reason we have legislation to prosecute parents of truants is to counter dysfunctional families that sneer at education, and to deter other caregivers from neglecting their young children.

"Answers to my parliamentary questions show the Ministry hasn't attempted to prosecute anybody since the election. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't - Mr Mallard admits the Ministry doesn't have any employees actually trained in how to prepare, research or pursue prosecutions. Mr Mallard also admits he has no plans to pursue prosecutions in the future.

"The Ministry doesn't even collate information on school and police prosecutions - Mr Mallard relies on 'anecdotal information' that leads him to believe up to 20 parents may have been charged by schools or parents. It is immoral to expect our over-burdened educators to prosecute parents - schools don't have the money to pay costly legal bills. Nor should we expect the under-funded police force to play social worker. It is clearly the Ministry's responsibility to prosecute.

"Before he was elected, Mr Mallard proclaimed disgust that the Ministry of Education wasn't prosecuting any parents. In a press release titled, "Ministry Should Prosecute - Not Schools!", Mr Mallard said:

'I believe the Ministry of Education should take a more active role in ensuring all young New Zealanders are receiving their rightful education. Instead they seem intent on passing the responsibility onto schools - without passing on the resourcing to match.' (30 March 1997)

"His previous passion for this issue makes his current neglect harder to accept. Upon appointment he grandiosely told us he would 'close the gaps on educational achievement'. Fulfilling this promise would be a good start," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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