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Mediator for Wairoa review announced

Mediator for Wairoa review announced

Wellington mediator Bruce Cottrill is to be the independent mediator for the school network review in Wairoa, in line with recommendations from the community, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

"Bruce Cottrill is the preferred choice of the schools. I have agreed to the community's recommendation," Trevor Mallard said.

"I have also accepted the terms of reference for the mediation after consultation with the schools. I am confident that Mr Cottrill will work through the process thoroughly, carefully and quickly so final decisions can be made to bring stability and certainty to the future of local education in the Wairoa area, for the sake of local students," Trevor Mallard said.

Bruce Cottrill will start on the mediation process next week.

"Although no deadline has been set for the mediation process, I still want to make decisions as early as possible in April. The schools and the mediator are aware of that timetable," Trevor Mallard said.

"The longer schools have to get on with the job, and prepare and plan for the implementation of any changes in time for the start of the 2005 school year, the better it will be for all concerned. But let me stress that I will not make any final decisions until I receive the mediator's recommendations," Trevor Mallard said.

The agreed terms of reference for the Wairoa mediation are as follows:

Examine the Minister of Education's proposal, the Ministry of Education's report to the Minister, and the facilitator's report;

Examine material on the relevant review that has come in to the Ministry by way of submissions and letters since the Minister announced his proposals;

That all available supporting data be available to the mediator from the Ministry;

The mediator will examine the possibility of extending the timeframe;

Identify issues on which there appear to be a large measure of agreement between the Minister and the network area;

Identify issues on which there is significant disagreement;

Talk to boards of trustees, the Wairoa District Council, (including examining the Wairoa District Council Social Impact Report), and any other community group affected by the areas of significant disagreement and gather any new data that may be necessary;

Prepare recommendations on these areas of disagreement and any other areas affecting the particular review area, for the Minister's consideration. The mediator will consult with and report to the Wairoa Reference Group before making recommendations to the Minister of Education;

and The Minister will consider the mediator's recommendations alongside recommendations submitted by the Ministry of Education, before the Minister makes a final decision.

ENDS

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