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Hatchet-man can't even swing his axe cleanly

Hatchet-man can't even swing his axe cleanly: Donald

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald says the way Trevor Mallard announced the closure of several Timaru schools today has added insult to injury.

The Minister of Education announced the closure of 13 South Canterbury schools this afternoon, as students and teachers were leaving for Easter and the school holidays.

"Trevor Mallard happily showed up in Frankton, near Queenstown, for a photo opportunity on Tuesday to announce a new school, but was nowhere to be seen in South Canterbury today," said Mr Donald.

"Instead schools learnt their fate after receiving a phone call to stand by their fax machines. At the very least a Ministry official should have faced up to the threatened schools and delivered the news.

"In one case, the fax closing the school didn't arrive till after the children had gone home for the holidays.

"The Government's hatchet-man can't even swing his axe cleanly.

"Despite claiming he was going to look at the reviews through a 'softer lens', in fact he's allowed only two more schools to stay open.

"The Greens are deeply disappointed at the closure of Pleasant Point High School and Watlington Intermediate School, as well as a number of primary schools around South Canterbury.

"The people of Pleasant Point will be devastated by the Minister's refusal to accept that the High School is an integral and essential part of their community. It is simply madness to close down a secondary school in a town of this size.

"In closing Watlington, Mallard has removed Timaru's only intermediate option, reducing parents' choice. By shutting down perfectly viable rural primary schools, he is forcing children to leave their local community to travel to town.

"Clearly Trevor Mallard does not understand just how important schools are to local communities and the damage he is doing to their social and economic infrastructure. The Government is either insincere in their rhetoric or misguided in their application of their much-vaunted regional development plans," said Mr Donald.

ENDS

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