As an anonymous Herald scribe puts it this morning:
Of all the decisions fumbled by Education Minister Hekia Parata last year, the post-earthquake plan for Christchurch was perhaps the worst.
And the Nats are just determined to keep making matters worse for those affected. It didn’t get much attention nationally, but The Press has this story:
Parata’s ‘lie-telling’ infuriates principals
City schools still fighting closure or mergers were dealt a double blow in Education Minister Hekia Parata’s education announcement. Not only would the original plans proceed for 19 schools, but some now had less than a year to go ahead with the proposals.
This was despite Parata previously giving written guarantees that changes for some schools would not happen for at least three years.
So a written guarantee from Parata is worth nothing, and chaos for schools and kids will ensue:
Parata said the reason for the new deadlines was to provide parents and children with “certainty”. But some principals have reacted with anger at being told “lies” over the deadlines. Many had enrolled new pupils on Parata’s earlier guarantees, only to have to renege on promises to parents.
“Certainty” my arse, the agreed date would have been certain if the Nats hadn’t reneged on Parata’s promises. I think Parata has been shafted by Key here (“cannon fodder” indeed). Armstrong’s theory is plausible:
Partial backdown shows National has eye on election
National’s nervousness about the closures triggering a much wider political backlash in the city against the governing party was plain in yesterday’s partial backdown from the initial proposals announced in such messy fashion last September. The number of school closures and “mergers” has been reduced from 31 to 19 – which is about the annual average across New Zealand in recent years. …
But the strongest pointer to how National has been feeling the heat is the decision that the majority of the region’s schools still earmarked for closure will shut their doors at the end of the final term this year rather than in 2015 or later as had initially been mooted.
Ministers are clearly punting that if affected pupils are in their new school at the beginning of 2014 then they (or more importantly vote-wise their parents) will have adjusted by the time the election rolls around later in the year.
So, Parata’s promises broken, schools lied to, kids messed about, and all with an eye to electoral gain. I’d like to think that the voters of Christchurch would choose electoral punishment instead, for the Nats using their kids as political pawns.