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School Closures: Clark should show she's listening

Clark should show she's listening by stopping school closures

As pressure mounts on the government to halt the current round of school reviews, the Green Party is calling on Helen Clark to demonstrate that she really is listening to community concerns by stopping the proposed closures. The call comes after representatives of 11 communities yesterday formed 'Parents Against Closures' (PAC), a national organisation to fight the government's plans, and two zone meetings of local government leaders voted to oppose the intended shutdowns.

"The Prime Minister partially heeded our previous call with last week's moratorium on further school closures, and we thank her for that, but she shouldn't leave the job half done," said Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald.

"Helen Clark needs to listen to parents, local government, teachers, principals and communities and end the stress and division that the current round of closures is causing.

"With the future moratorium in place, those school districts under review are quite rightly feeling picked on and are upset that they are getting a rough deal.

"Ms Clark has admitted that the reviews were more far reaching than she expected. Now is her chance to match her concern with action," said Mr Donald.

"Rural and provincial New Zealanders deserve the same choices that people in the city have. Taking their schools away risks turning those living in smaller communities into second-class citizens." Mr Donald, who will be visiting threatened schools in South Canterbury tomorrow and speaking at Tim Shadbolt's public meeting on the closures in Invercargill tomorrow night (Monday 1 March), urged communities to keep up the pressure on the government.

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