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Mallard fails southern schools

4 February, 2004
Mallard fails southern schools

The Green Party says Trevor Mallard's announcement of wholesale school closures in Invercargill will be a disaster for local children and the province.

"This is a kick in the guts for a city that has been demonstrating that the regions can reverse population decline and strengthen their own economies and communities," said Green Co-leader Rod Donald.

"Trevor Mallard is kneecapping Invercargill with decisions that are a total contradiction of his government's own regional development strategy. Invercargill is the latest victim of a massive cost-cutting exercise to fund new schools in Auckland. This is cruel and misguided social engineering."

Green Education spokesperson Metiria Turei said the closure of two intermediates and several rural schools on the periphery of Invercargill will deny parents the choice of smaller schools and the greater individual attention that they offer to their kids.

"I urge communities facing school closures to not give up. Fight for your children, your communities and the future of provincial New Zealand, the Greens will do everything we can to support you."

Ms Turei said the Greens are pleased Invercargill Middle School is to stay open, but have to question why the Minister is closing several other schools of a similar size.

"The Greens recognise that, from time to time, schools may need to close, but a review process for a city school should only occur when its roll drops below the level needed to sustain a fulltime principal. Even then, no school should be closed unless its local community supports the decision. After all, bigger schools are not necessarily better schools."

ENDS

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