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Parata’s poor process fails Chch community

Acting Education Spokesperson

18 February 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Parata’s poor process fails Chch community

Hekia Parata’s decision to close or merge 19 schools in Christchurch will come as a blow to their local communities and the city as a whole, says Chris Hipkins, Labour’s acting education spokesperson.

“My thoughts today are with the pupils, parents and staff of those schools which have been told that they will close. Schools are at the heart of local communities, and many kids and parents will today be angry and distressed.

“Everybody accepts that there is a need for difficult decisions to be taken. But Hekia Parata has botched this process, just as she has botched everything she has touched in education.

“The Minister’s back-down over the proposed closure of a further 12 schools is welcome. But schools such as Branston Intermediate and Phillipstown School put forward a strong case for remaining open. Hekia Parata ignored their wishes, and the wishes of their kids.

“The Government has ridden rough-shod over the people of Christchurch. Hekia Parata can claim that she has listened to the people all she likes. They have not been listened to – they have been dictated to.

“The future of education in Christchurch is too important to get wrong. And based on the flawed data used to justify the Government’s original proposals, how can people be confident that today’s decisions have been taken based on solid information?

“Today’s decision to bring forward the closures to the end of this year, instead of the end of 2015 as previously signalled, is also worrying. Why rush the process? Is it because Hekia Parata wants to get all her dirty work out of the way before election year?

“The people of Christchurch have been through more than enough over the last two years. My message today is that Labour will stand by those communities that face the loss of their local schools,” says Chris Hipkins.

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