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Christchurch school communities need a new Minister

13 November 2012

Christchurch school communities need a new Minister

Earthquake-ravaged Christchurch communities need a new minister and a taskforce to specifically oversee plans for the city’s schools, the Green Party said today.

“The people of Christchurch looked to the Government for support and hope in its renewal plan for their schools, but have been re-victimised by it instead,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“Education Minister Hekia Parata has failed to listen to communities left ravaged by the quakes, has lost their confidence, and should delegate the education renewal role to someone who can regain it.

“The entire school renewal process has been infected by the feeling that neither the Minister nor the Ministry are interested in really listening to the communities.

“The Ministry should also take a step back, and appoint a cross sector group of education experts to assess the communities’ responses to closure proposals and use that work to come up with a solution for Christchurch schools.

“The job of rebuilding Christchurch schools is too big and the consequences of getting it wrong too serious. These families and schools need a new minister, devoted to real education renewal, who they can trust to rebuild their communities.

“They have been completely mucked around by this Government and need a minister who will actually engage with them.

“Ms Parata has overseen a litany of disasters in her education portfolio, all characterised by her unwillingness to listen to those on the front line of education.

“She stuffed up over class sizes, has caused huge grief over the merger of special schools, has backtracked on proposals to merge two secondary schools, and still won’t commit to whether she’ll extend the deadline for consultation on proposed mergers and closures in Christchurch.

“A minister specifically in charge of the Christchurch educational renewal would signal to those communities that the Government is taking them seriously and is prepared to listen and engage with them.

“That is the least this Government can do,” Ms Delahunty said.

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