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National Flip Flop Over Last Chance School A Disgrace

National Flip Flop Over Last Chance School A Disgrace

Labour’s Wairarapa candidate Michael Bott has slammed the National Government’s flip-flop over the future of Ohorere School in Masterton in light of John Key’s comments that the school will have no last minute reprieve (Wairarapa Times Age 30 September 2011).

“It’s an absolute disgrace that National promoted Ohorere School as a success story in their election campaign in 2008 and have since stabbed our community in the back by completely cutting the school’s funding”.

“Hayes and Key used that school and those kids in their "Ambitious for NZ" DVD in 2007, now they are in power they pull the rug from under the school and actively work to shut it down. This is a disgrace. The school has an 85% success rate in getting last chance kids back into mainstream education. “

Ohorere is an example of how National has treated this electorate. When campaigning for office, Key and our current MP turned up to Ohorere with cameras rolling and lauded the school as a success. Having obtained office, the school served its purpose and can now be forgotten and the people dispensed with, forgotten in the froth of the latest sensation. Evidence of this is the Prime Minister's treatment of Ohorere's recent invitation to visit the school on last week's Masterton visit – an invitation they would have expected him to welcome, after using them for his PR campaign last election. The day before the visit the PM's secretary replied that, due to the pressures on his schedule the PM would be unable to visit on this occasion. “He has, however, asked that I convey his kind regards to you, and all involved in your programme.” Having conveyed his kind regards Mr Key announced at a public meeting in Masterton the next day that he would shut Ohorere down. If John Key sends you his kind regards, be very afraid!

“At $150,000 a year to run it is as cheap as chips compared to paying $100,000 per year to lock and inmate up in one of our prisons - which is where kids often end up if they drop out of school. Put another way, $150,000 is what we sent up in ten minutes worth of fireworks to open the Rugby World Cup"

Bott says “Ohorere is an important school for the community which gives at risk young people a chance to get back on track in their lives and the funding cuts to the school is bad for the entire community.”

“John Hayes has done nothing to save the school. For that I say shame on him, he has let the community down.”

“Yesterday I met with South End School Principal Rod O’Leary, he told me about the important role Ohorere School plays in the community, John Hayes hasn’t bothered to ask what the experts have to say. What kind of local representative is he? No wonder his face isn't on his party’s hoardings, I'd be ashamed too if I used Ohorere and those children like National has."

Bott says he will lead a strong fight to save the school. "Far from closing Ohorere down, we need more of them. Wairarapa can be proud of its support for Ohorere. Labour have committed to keeping the school open and enhancing alternative education in New Zealand. I will fight hard to keep this school open and I ask the community to get in behind me."

ENDS


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