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ACT Launches School Zoning Campaign in Auckland

ACT Launches School Zoning Campaign in Auckland

Monday 28 Jan 2002 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

ACT New Zealand has written to 40,000 families in Auckland to warn them that due to zoning, their children are unable to attend the city's top schools.

ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata said today that the hand-delivered letters were part of a campaign to shed light on the injustices of school zoning.

"We have written to forty thousand constituents with children. None of their kids can go to Auckland's `top five' schools, because these families aren't lucky enough to live inside an exclusive school zone," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

Auckland MP Ken Shirley joined Mrs Awatere Huata in writing to constituents in Maungakiekie, Northcote, Mount Roskill, Mount Albert, Titirangi, Epsom and Tamaki.

"Recipients are stuck outside the `home zones' of Westlake schools, Auckland Grammar schools and Epsom Girls," Mrs Awatere Huata said. "Their children can only attend these schools if they shift house or win a limited `ballot'.

"These schools aren't necessarily the best for everyone. But the point is that parents should be free to choose the most suitable school for their child, rather than be forced to submit to Government dictates.

"School zoning is racist, elitist and unfair. Many Auckland schools specialise in delivering certain types of education. Yet zoning stops parents from choosing the school that best suits their child, and decrees that `one size fits all'. All the evidence shows us that children who have a choice where they attend school are more likely to achieve.

"Families are affected financially by zoning. The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand now classifies houses according to their school zone, and out-of-zone properties are plummeting in value.

"Zoning discourages schools from improving the quality, range and diversity of subjects they teach. Institutes that have a guaranteed roll don't have to improve to get more students.

"ACT New Zealand is assisting parents and educators to create a pressure group to lobby for the abolition of school zoning. This group will not be part of the ACT party, but will be open to any New Zealander concerned about the impact of school zoning," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

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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