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Maxim Institute - Real Issues - No. 132

Maxim Institute

real issues.
this week: No. 132, 14 OCTOBER 2004

* NZ Education system under spotlight at World Congress

* Clause 37 doesn't confirm confidentiality as claimed

* Prostitution referendum - time running out

* Auckland Change Agent workshop - 16 November

NZ Education system under spotlight at World Congress

The New Zealand education system featured at the World Congress of Families in Kuala Lumpur this week, with an address by Paul Henderson from the Maxim Institute entitled "State-owned in Godzone".

In this address he argues that New Zealand's Ministry of Education has increasingly usurped, with negative results, the primary responsibility of parents to direct the education of their children. "Although New Zealand's compulsory education sector is well financed and its pupils comparatively advantaged, New Zealand's general performance in reading, scientific and especially mathematical literacy is not as good as it should be," said Henderson.

Henderson argues that the state monopoly provision in education is responsible for New Zealand’s unimpressive national academic record and threatens the civil liberties of parents. "The present status quo in primary and secondary education in New Zealand limits the opportunities for families, and especially parents, to select the right education for the children, thus violating a basic human right," he said.

Interestingly, the OECD has recently published Education at a Glance, 2004, which reports that decision-making in schools throughout the OECD is becoming more decentralised as the education systems move away from centralised command.

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New Zealand must examine the evidence of its achievement against international standards to see how we measure up and observe worldwide trends to understand those factors that improve pupil achievement. "State-owned in Godzone" sets out a number of recommendations for education in New Zealand including reassessing zoning and providing greater freedom for schools to choose curricula and tests suited to their pupils.

To read Paul Henderson’s full address visit:

To read the Education at a Glance report visit:,2688,en_2649_34515_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum:

Clause 37 doesn't confirm confidentiality as claimed

The claim that Clause 37 of the Care of Children Bill will maintain an underage pregnant girl's right to privacy is misleading. The Guardianship Act 1968 and Clause 37 (which replaces it) only grant an underage girl the authority to consent to an abortion. They do not explicitly include the right to keep a pregnancy confidential from parents, which is contrary to the common practice that parents must consent to any medical treatment for their child. It is implicit in giving any consent that those who do so should be informed.

Maxim Institute's Greg Fleming mentioned on "Face to Face with Kim Hill" last night that recommendations from the 1977 Royal Commission of Inquiry made it clear that the Commission assumed that parents would always be informed and consulted. Their concern was over who should have the final say if a dispute arose between a girl and her parents over whether or not to have an abortion.

The Commission rightly said (on page 278) that "Although we recognise the place of parents as head of the family...if after proper counselling she wishes to continue with her pregnancy, an abortion should not be forced on her against her will." Clearly there was never any intention that a girl be given the right to keep her pregnancy private from her parents; rather that the girl's wishes should prevail over her parents'.

The Royal New Zealand College of GPs and the Medical Association claimed in their letter to MPs that the proposed amendment to the Care of Children Bill " therefore about information, and who must receive it. It is not about the legality of abortion (or who can decide to seek one), but about whether the information about a pregnancy should go beyond the pregnant girl and her general practitioner." While the status quo does confer the right to consent, it does not affirm the right to withhold information from parents.

Clause 37 should be amended to simply ensure that medical practice is brought back into line with the original intention of the Guardianship Act, which assumed that parents would always be informed.

Click here to sign the online petition supporting an amendment to Clause 37:

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum:

Prostitution referendum - time running out

Last weekend a youth group on Auckland’s North Shore collected 2,000 signatures on the petition for a referendum on the Prostitution Reform Act. To achieve the total of 310,000 signatures required for a referendum, more outstanding efforts like this are required in the next two weeks.

Securing the 310,000 signatures on the petition will ensure a referendum question at the next election that will ask every voter: "Should the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 be repealed?"

Signed petition forms must be posted by 5pm Wednesday 27 October to: PO Box 14209, Tauranga. People signing must be on the electoral roll (NZ citizens or permanent residents) for their signature to be valid. Please make sure that you have signed the petition and encourage as many other people as you can to also sign.

The petition form can be downloaded at

Auckland Change Agent workshop - 16 November

The second Auckland Change Agent workshop is being held on Tuesday 16 November. The workshop will address current issues such as where the government is taking marriage (civil unions), education, hate speech and political correctness, as well as provide practical tips on how to effectively engage in processes of public policy and debate.

For more information visit:


Democracy is less a system of government than it is a system to keep government limited, unintrusive; a system of constraints on power to keep politics and government secondary to the important things in life, the true source of value found only in family and faith.

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Real Issues is a weekly email newsletter from the Maxim Institute. The focus is current New Zealand events with an attempt to provide insight into critical issues beyond what is usually presented in the media. This service is provided free of charge, although a donation to Maxim is appreciated. Items may be used for other purposes, such as teaching, research or civic action. If items are published elsewhere, Maxim should be acknowledged.

Key principles - The Building Blocks of Civil Society

Maxim Institute 49 Capehorn Road, Hillsborough, Auckland. Ph (09) 627 3261 74 Middleton Road, Riccarton, Christchurch. Ph. (03) 343 1570

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