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Crowd Urges Mallard To Re-think School Closures

Crowd Urges Mallard To Re-think School Closures

Tuesday 24 Feb 2004 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Education -- Save Our Schools

ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington was today delighted - but unsurprised - at the number of people protesting Labour's school closures, and said it was just a fraction of the anger that communities feel about this misguided initiative.

"Today's demonstration shows that Kiwis will not forfeit their children's education without a fight. Everyone with a jot of sense sees the absurdity of Education Minister Trevor Mallard's network reviews - except the Minister himself," Miss Coddington said.

"I am not surprised that so many turned out - from Taranaki, Manawatu, Wairoa, Wairarapa, and as far afield as Greymouth - to protest this attack on their communities. If future reviews are bad - as Mr Mallard claims - then why are the current ones okay? The Minister must dump this policy and let parents choose.

"I was also delighted to receive the petition from Pinehaven School parents, signed by thousands of New Zealanders, demanding that Labour end this brutal cull of our schools.

"Mr Mallard's penny-pinching will have a devastating effect on communities. Teachers will be forced to reapply for their jobs, children will have their education disrupted, and schools will inevitably lose some of their community support.

"ACT accepts that schools will, from time-to-time, close or merge. But that decision must be made by the communities affected - not by a Minister whose prime motivation is to save a buck. I urge parents, students and teachers to continue the fight to save their schools - there's a long way to go," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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