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"Acrobatic" ministry should get off its high horse

"Acrobatic" ministry should get off its high horse

The Ministry of Education's argument that the High Court should not provide a remedy to parents of special needs children because of "policy interference" is a perverse attempt at acrobatic logic, said Green MP Metiria Turei.

Metiria, the Green Education spokesperson, said the warning of Grant Liddell, acting for the Crown, for the Court not to order the Government to restore special needs units in schools was akin to a perversion of justice.

"This is not about policy, it is about the Government acting without legal authority," said Metiria. "The Court of Appeal found that the Government had acted outside the law in removing special needs units in 1998, now it seems the Government wants to shut down any attempt to resolve this issue."

"The families of children with special needs have brought this case because they have no other option to rectify an act that the court has agreed was outside the law.

"The Government has stubbornly refused to act on a court decision that ruled the scrapping of special needs units was unlawful. It needs to be held to account and remedy this situation by restoring the necessary services to children who need it.

"This is a shameful attempt to save face by trying to blur the lines between law and policy. The Green Party supports the action by these families to right the injustices caused by a previous government."

Metiria said the abolition of special needs units was a failed experiment and resulted in children with moderate special needs being denied appropriate education.

"While it can be said that mainstreaming has worked for some children, for other children it has been a dismal failure. These children are entitled to the specialist care they need.

"The Ministry's drive to save money is just stealing off children who need resources the most. Teachers and classrooms are already stretched to the limit after successive rounds of cost-cutting. "Saving money and saving face seem more important to this Government than the educational needs of our children," said Metiria.

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