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School Closures Cynical Penny-pinching

School Closures Cynical Penny-pinching

Education Minister Trevor Mallard's arrogant and cynical penny-pinching has taken a turn for the worse highlighted by his announcement last night that six Northland schools are to be closed, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Parents, students and teachers will be devastated. Through Labour's cruel network reviews, Mr Mallard is ripping the heart out of Northland communities - which have had strongly-supported well-performing schools," Miss Coddington said.

"The Minister claims that network reviews are upsetting for him - but his crocodile tears won't wash with Northlanders. The grim reality is that teachers will be forced to reapply for their jobs, children's education will be disrupted, and schools will lose some community support.

"Mr Mallard constantly shows scant regard for the wishes of rural communities, who have begged for a stay of execution - despite claiming in Opposition that only Labour was `watching out for the interests of small rural communities and the needs of small rural schools'.

"It now appears that excellent ERO reports, strong community support and growing rolls matter little to this arrogant Minister, whose prime motivation is to save money - regardless of the best interests of rural communities.

"Labour's savage approach to closing schools shows that it's out of touch with provincial New Zealand. ACT accepts schools will, from time-to-time, close or merge. But that decision must be made by the communities affected - not by a know-it-all government that prefers bullying heartland New Zealand, rather than consulting it," Miss Coddington said.

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