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Zoning: Mallard hides the true picture

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

22 November 2004

Zoning: Mallard hides the true picture

Figures released by the Minister of Education directly contradict the Minister’s own public statements about the affects of his zoning policy, says National’s Education spokesman, Bill English.

Last month, Mr Mallard said there was ‘often a perception that the number of zones was increasing, but the figures showed that was not so’.

The most recent figures show that the number of schools with zones has increased by more than 50% since Labour’s zoning policy came into effect in 2000.

“These figures show, without any doubt or room for manipulation from the Minister, that there are significantly more zones now than there were when Labour came into office,” says Mr English.

Currently, 452 schools have zones, up from 301 in 2000. Mr English says zoning removes choice, which is critical in education.

“Parents want to choose what school their children attend. They are in a much better position than the Minister of Education to know what’s best for their children.

“But rigid zoning laws remove that choice for parents unless they are wealthy enough to buy a house in-zone.

“Labour’s rigid restrictions mean successful schools are not allowed to expand until every classroom in the local area is full. This means the worst-performing schools set the pace.

“Parents want serious debate about education but it’s very difficult when the Minister deliberately hides the true picture,” says Mr English.


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