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Court exposes government as a problem child

Court exposes government as a problem child

Parents of special needs children achieved a victory over bully-boy Government tactics in the Court of Appeal today, said Green MP Metiria Turei.

The education spokesperson hailed the ruling, where the court upheld in part a landmark High Court judgement in April last year which found the Government was not taking the appropriate responsibility for educating children with special needs.

"The ruling states that the Government breached the law when they closed down special needs units before adequate alternative facilities were available. This clearly shows that the Government has treated these children and families with gross contempt in implementing their SE2000 (Special Education) policy.

"I congratulate the parents on the bold step they have taken to tackle the Government on its repeated failings," said Metiria.

"The Associate Education Minister, Lianne Dalziel, owes it to the parents to demonstrate how the ministry will make amends to these families who have been left out in the cold and provide the services they have had to fight for."

In 1997, funding for special needs children was changed from a student-by-student basis to bulk funding based on school decile ratings. Fourteen plaintiffs then challenged this decision through the High Court and were successful last year.

The Government appealed the High Court ruling on the grounds it would be open to litigation.

"That this Labour Government sought to defend the actions of the previous National Government while concerned parents continued to suffer, reveals clearly their indifference to quality education for children with special needs," said Metiria.

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