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Thousands of New Zealanders have signed a petition to stop cuts to National Library lending services to schools, with New Zealand’s favorite celebrity Lorde and Man Booker prize winning author Eleanor Catton even weighing in on the debate.
“Our members are concerned that the changes will hit hardest in rural and technology-poor schools,” said Marianne Elliott, of campaigning group ActionStation. “Unless inequality of digital access is first addressed, these changes may only reinforce existing inequalities in our education system, and in our society.”
Last year, 16,000 teachers made 40,000 requests for almost a million hard-copy items via the National Library's curriculum topic support service. From July, this service will be cut. The overall savings from the new Services to Schools strategy is estimated to be $392,000 a year, the equivalent of just one years salary of our highest earning MPs.
In a press release this afternoon, the Minister responsible, Peter Dunne accused the Labour party of "whipping up anxiety and fear" and said that by opposing the cuts Labour ‘want to limit New Zealand children to learning about topics for which there are books within the National Library.’
“ActionStation members want the Minister to know,” says Elliott, “that we just want to ensure that every child in New Zealand has a fair chance to learn about topics for which there are books within the National Library.”
ActionStation was launched in July 2014 and is an organisation of over 20,000 progressive New Zealanders who stand for social fairness, environmental sustainability and a transparent democracy.