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Labour sends Māori to the back of the charter school bus

The Labour Party has sent Māori to the back by bus by forcing through legislation that makes charter school contracts illegal while Māori educators seek to have their Waitangi Tribunal claim heard urgently, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

Sir Toby Curtis, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Dame Tariana Turia, and Pem Bird have filed a Treaty of Waitangi claim, Wai 2770, and asked that it be heard urgently.

"The Government is undertaking widespread consultation on the future of the education sector such as its NCEA and Tomorrow’s Schools review, but refuses to do the same for schools even when a Treaty claim is lodged. Why the double standard?

"The Prime Minister said in her Speech from the Throne and in the House her Government would honour existing irrigation contracts but not charter school contracts. Well, what exactly is the Government’s standard for honouring contracts?

"New Zealanders simply going about their business deserve not to be bullied by the state and have the rules changed arbitrarily mid-game.

"What is the Government’s view on the status of the Treaty of Waitangi? Is it a partnership between two peoples, in which case Māori deserve to have been consulted on these changes. Or does the Treaty mean that all New Zealanders have the same rights, in which case the decision to honour some contracts and not others offends that basic principle. Chris Hipkins refused to state what the Treaty means to this Government during debate on the bill in the House today.

"Chris Hipkins is prepared to risk an adverse Waitangi Tribunal claim in order to do the bidding of the teachers unions, but refuses to say how he would respond to it.

"What will the Minister do if he has passed this legislation and the Tribunal hands down an adverse finding? Will he have the political capital within his caucus to steamroll Waitangi Tribunal? What will it look like for his ministerial warrant to go to court and have to pay out compensation?

"All of this could be solved by the Government hitting pause on the Education Amendment Bill’s commencement date until the Waitangi Tribunal has offered its finding."

ends

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