Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Deborah Coddington's Liberty Belle

Liberty Belle
Deborah Coddington's Liberty Belle

Welcome to Spring, and welcome to more rounds of school closures after the election. In 2003 and 2004 Labour's education minister Trevor Mallard closed a record 96 schools. A further 300 were threatened with "review" but after ACT campaigned hard against this, set up a website "Saveourschools", organised a petition and a march on Parliament, Mallard backed down and announced a "moratorium".

The school closures ripped the hearts out of New Zealand communities. Trevor Mallard was swept along by a Ministry/Treasury obsessed with forcing a bureaucratic model on to every school in the country. If parents did not go along with this Soviet-style plan and refused to send their children to the new school designated by the Minister, then the threat of zoning was used to make them comply.

Rural schools were the badly affected - for some twisted reason these smaller schools were deemed to be injurious to children's education. People like me, who were lucky enough to enjoy a wonderful primary education at a small, safe, friendly, and parent-focused rural school, were incensed. Who says our education was poor? Tell that to other fabulous New Zealanders who went to small rural schools - Sir Ernest Rutherford, Dame Malvina Major, Gordon Coates, Jack Lovelock to name but four.

Karl Popper, a famous philosopher who spent some time in New Zealand, once said: "The principle that those who are entrusted to us must, before anything else, not be harmed, should be recognised to be just as fundamental for education as it is for medicine. 'Do no harm' (and give the young what they most urgently need to become independent of us, and to be able to choose for themselves) would be a very worthy aim for the education system." Popper might well have been predicting nightmares like the NCEA when he wrote this.

So why am I raising the spectre of school closures again? Because they're coming to a school near you after the election. One of my readers spotted an ad in the Dominion Post last Saturday - Job Finder page 10 - for a "Network Facilitator" for the Nelson region.

Be very afraid - and watch carefully over the situations vacant ads in your local paper.

Yours in liberty,

Deborah Coddington.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news