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Clark urged to rein in Mallard on school closures

Greens urge Clark to rein in Mallard on school closures

The Green Party will put the government's school closure plans at the top of the agenda at their next meeting with the Prime Minister.

"We will urge Helen Clark to rein in Trevor Mallard," said Green Education spokesperson Metiria Turei.

"Having attended the 133-pupil Te Pahu School in South West Waikato, Miss Clark must understand that small country schools are central to the survival of distinctive rural communities.

"Labour needs to have a heart, as well as taking a 'whole of government' approach to rural and provincial New Zealand. There is a clear contradiction between the government saying they want to foster regional development while continuing to rip out rural infrastructure.

"The government needs to consider the impact a school closure will have on a whole community, especially when many of the schools are the only visible public service left.

"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."

Green MP Sue Bradford, who now lives in Kaitaia, is particularly concerned at the news today of the closure of six Northland schools.

"The closure of the schools at Matawaia, Motatau and Orauta, which lie at the heart of their Maori communities, contradicts the government's stated intention to nurture and foster education appropriate to the needs of tangata whenua.

"I hope that the final stage of the review process in Northland will see a high level of engagement from local people about what they really want to see happen to their schools and communities after April," said Ms Bradford.

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