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Free Press, 9 April 2018

Free Press, 9 April 2018

The report the Government didn’t want you to see

The third and final independent report by Martin Jenkins on Partnership Schools has now seen the light of day. After stonewalling for a number months, Education Minister Chris Hipkins finally relented and dumped the report in an obscure part of the Ministry of Education website on a Friday night. So much for Jacinda Ardern’s cry of ‘open and transparent government’.

Glowing report

It is no exaggeration to say the report finds Partnership Schools are the most positive thing happening in New Zealand education today. It is a testament to ACT’s work over the past six years.

Helping students state schools couldn’t

The report finds Partnership Schools are strongly focused on disadvantaged kids - largely Maori and Pasifika from low-decile schools. Before attending Partnership schools, many kids were transient, disengaged, with poor academic histories and complex needs. They often lacked positive aspirations and role models.

Innovation is key

The schools are meeting learners’ needs using innovative practices and high-quality standards. Sponsors are driven by a vision to provide an alternative for students who have been underserved by the state system. Innovations enabled by the flexible model are happening across the board.

Hard to learn if you’re not at school

Partnerhsip Schools improved student engagement. Stand-downs and length of suspensions are down. Students give positive feedback. Whānau feel more involved and more confident communicating with schools. Very few learners are opting out.

Why is the Government closing Partnership Schools?

The teachers’ unions put Chris Hipkins where he is and they want Partnership Schools gone. But recent polling has shown that the Education Minister and the unions are on the wrong side of public opinion.

What should the Government do now?

This polling and the Martin Jenkins reports give Hipkins enough cover to do the right thing by 1300 disadvantaged students, reverse his position, and keep the schools open.

Where is the Maori Caucus?

Labour’s Maori MPs opted not to be on the Labour Party list. They got into Parliament the old-fashioned way, winning their seats fair and square. They owe the Labour Party and its unions nothing except their ministerial posts. No wonder they will not stand up for Partnership Schools.

What you can do

If you want to add your name to a petition 3000 Kiwis have already signed, go to

Is National Labour-lite? Or is Labour National-lite?

If the political spectrum was a rugby field, Labour and National would be playing the old style of Northern Hemisphere rugby. Rucking and mauling centre-pitch with lots of kicks for touch. It’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between the two major parties.

Both parties want to take more of your money...

The Government is proposing a fuel tax increase of between 9 and 12 cents a litre. Amy Adams slammed the move as ‘tax and spend' Labour. However, documents released under the Official Information Act show former Transport Minister, and now National Leader, Simon Bridges was considering increasing fuel taxes before the election. The Nats also increased fuel taxes by the same amount the week before Christmas in 2012.

…and buy influence with it

Shane Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund is endangering our reputation as the least corrupt country on earth. Jones is travelling the country dispensing corporate welfare in the hope it will boost NZ First’s fortunes. Giving $4.6 million to a project he supported before becoming a Minster beggars belief.

Credibility gap

The Nats are having a hard time criticising the underlying logic of the Fund, though. The problem for them is that Jones’ policies are just a continuation of Simon Bridges’ crony capitalism as Economic Development Minister.

Another reason New Zealand needs an ACT Party

This morning, Simon Bridges wouldn't commit to scrapping Labour’s fuel tax hikes. What other Labour policies will National will accept when it returns to Government? Given its record, National lacks credibility on fiscal policy. New Zealand needs a strong ACT Party to hold the Government to account on tax and spending.

Socialists to the Left, and Right

Phil Twyford doesn't like property managers, but enjoys being the the biggest landlord in the country. He owns a massive, ageing stock of houses – worth $21.6 billion – which are poorly-suited for the needs of the poor.

What would ACT do?

ACT has revealed that these state houses cost seven times more to maintain than private homes. The Nats’ attempt to transfer state houses to community groups was a fizzer as few groups would or could take up the offer. They should have embraced full scale privatisation. ACT would transfer this massive liability off the government’s books by privatising all state houses and subsidising the rent of those people who truly need it.


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