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Education Sectors Unite Against Budget Cuts

Education Sectors Unite Against Budget Cuts

Media Release - For Immediate Use
Blockade the Budget
Saturday 21 July 2012

Students today hosted a sector-wide education protest labelled “Show and Tell,” marching from Auckland’s Britomart to SkyCity, the site of this weekend’s National Party Conference.

Organisers described the day’s actions at an opportunity for a range of groups to “show their discontent and tell the truth about attacks on education.”

The event began at 1pm with speeches from representatives of the PPTA, NZEI and student movement covering the impact of the government’s education cuts on their sectors.

Lynley Hunter, Auckland Regional Chairperson of the PPTA said that “teachers are the experts in education. Ask them how to improve education for everyone.”

Frances Guy from the NZEI said that the changes were “about privatisation, charter schools, league tables and performance pay,” and that “every child is entitled to the best teachers.”

One parent of three special needs children said that “only one in 100 children who apply for Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding get it.”

Finally, representing tertiary students, Jai Bentley-Payne, a postgraduate student and tutor in the sociology department at the University of Auckland, outlined the concerns of tertiary students:

“Every time we hear about the plans of our government, they are notable for who is not included. Students are not included. Workers are not included. Poor people are not included. Women are not included. The marginalised, harassed and dispossessed are not included.

“Thousands more students will be forced to borrow to eat. Fifteen percent already live in absolute financial distress. We have some of the highest fees in the world, and $13 billion worth of student debt. We have forgotten what education is for. It is not a private investment scheme, it is for all of us to solve the big problems we face together.”

During the march, students chanted:

“No more cuts!”

“Cut back? Fight back!”

“They got it free; why shouldn’t we?”

The action was supported by the Tertiary Education Union (TEU); The New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI); Post Primary Teachers' Association, Auckland Region (PPTA); Auckland University Students Association (AUSA); Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP); Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC); Council of Trade Unions (CTU); Aotearoa's Not For Sale (ANFS); and We are the University (WATU).

Students peacefully dispersed from Federal Street at around 3pm, encouraging attendees to return tomorrow morning (Sunday 22 July) at 11:30am to support the Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) “Stop the War on the Poor” event, to be held outside the convention centre as Prime Minister John Key presents his address to the National Party Conference.


© Scoop Media

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