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Parents denied chance to hear school plan

Hon Bill English MP National Party Education Spokesman

27 January 2004

Parents denied chance to hear school plan

National Party Education spokesman Bill English is appalled that the Government is poised to deny parents the opportunity to hear about the future of their school first hand.

"Trevor Mallard is running scared over school closures."

Mr English is commenting ahead of meetings scheduled in Upper Hutt tonight, including one in Stokes Valley, which is closed to parents unless they're on the board.

"Mr Mallard knows that anger is growing, and that's why he's shutting the community out of these meetings.

"Labour is about to announce large scale school closures in Upper Hutt, Stokes Valley, Timaru and Invercargill.

"These closures will affect thousands of families, but the Minister is refusing to deal with them face to face," Mr English says.

"Where emotions are running high, in places like Invercargill and Stokes Valley, the meetings have been closed. In Upper Hutt, where there has been less of a fuss, the meeting is open.

"The Minister is losing his nerve. Parents should be encouraged by the fact that he is unable to face them because of the pressure they have put on the Government.

"These closures will leave long lasting scars because they have been forced on communities and because they have no educational benefit.

"The minister has lost his appetite for angry parents, and that's a sign they should keep at it with letters petitions and demonstrations," says Mr English.

For more on the network review process visit: www.SKOOLS.co.nz (Stop Killing Off Our Local Schools)

Ends

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