Plain English - 22 April 2005
Plain English - 22 April
The launch of National's education policy last week by Don Brash attracted criticism from all the usual suspects. Unions and bureaucrats like schools to be organised in ways that entrench their power. They don’t like policy that shifts money and decisions to schools, teachers, and parents.
Millions of dollars are being absorbed by an exploding education bureaucracy while schools are selling raffle tickets to employ teachers. We want to change that. National has had positive support from parents who like our push for more choice of schools and reading and maths vouchers. These vouchers will entitle parents to approximately $700 of out of school tuition to help children who are really struggling.
The vouchers are one way of breaking the cycle of endless talk about demoralised teachers, struggling children and uninterested parents. Parents will have to get test results for their child's school and go to a broker who will help them choose after school tuition from approved teachers.
Changing Maori voting patterns are the next development in MMP. Maori are moving from protest to Parliament to achieve their objectives. Polling among Maori has shown a clear trend of growing support from for the Maori Party. Maori voters are getting tired of Labour's patronising cash-for-votes attitude towards them.
More and more Maori voters are embarrassed by government funding scandals and they don't feel grateful. They are working out that they can have more influence if they move away from Labour. National has struck a chord with some Maori voters with its policy to move on from divisive treaty policy. Parliament will see robust debate about Maori issues if National wins and The Maori Party win the Maori seats. We can expect to see more Maori influence in Parliament and less of the sort of protesting that alienates middle New Zealand. The future political scene is one where Maori will becoming more of a political force. If Labour win nothing will change.
The Department of Conservation has millions of dollars at its fingertips to buy up high country land that it can’t manage, and to set up a marine reserve in the Catlins. People don’t want a marine reserve and DOC doesn’t even have enough money to do the basics of looking after the environment in the Catlins. The council has asked DOC to stop spreading sewerage from the Papatowhai camping ground onto neighbouring land, but DOC won't upgrade the sewerage system.
Tourists visiting Nugget Point found the toilets weren’t working so they started relieving themselves all around this popular and sensitive coastal area. There is a pressing need for better facilities around the Nuggets to protect the penguins and the landscape. If DOC won't do it they should let someone else invest.