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PM In Cuckooland Over School Closures

PM In Cuckooland Over School Closures

Tuesday 2 Mar 2004 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Education -- Save Our Schools

Prime Minister Helen Clark must be in Cuckooland if she thinks she can escape being badly tainted over her Government's unpopular programme of school closures, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Ms Clark is dreaming if she expects the public to believe that neither she, nor her Cabinet colleagues, knew anything about Education Minister Trevor Mallard's decision to close hundreds of schools until she read about it in the newspapers," Miss Coddington said.

"Last week, the Prime Minister said she had disagreed with Mr Mallard's actions for months - despite her `I'm the boss' edict on `Face to Face'. Her failure to intervene earlier has resulted in several schools closures - while a further 71 remain on borrowed time.

"Despite Ms Clark's best efforts to distance herself from this mess, she and Mr Mallard are equally culpable for this debacle. Labour's dramatic dip in the opinion polls has forced the Government to backpedal furiously and make excuses for its own failures.

"The last couple of weeks have caused the Prime Minister to reflect on the best way to handle the rationalisation of New Zealand schools. She now says local communities should determine the future of its schools - something ACT has been saying from day one.

"Whilst I am delighted the Prime Minister has vindicated - and endorsed, ACT's position - I believe she and her Government have a lot of explaining to do. Labour is fast losing the trust and confidence of New Zealanders - and, with it, their support," 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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