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Christchurch kids as political pawns

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, February 19th, 2013 - 38 comments
Categories: Hekia parata, national, schools - Tags: , , ,

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.

38 comments on “Christchurch kids as political pawns”

  1. shorts 1

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Nationals polling is suggesting many kiwis are just “over it”, (unfortunately a theme I keep coming across for less informed/caring people), with regards to Chch thus can do almost as they please, within limits of course, messing with kids is dynamite with the electorate

    Watching all of this unfold from afar is heart breaking – I can only imagine how devastating it is for those effected

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      Yep I agree with you. An ignorant colleague of mine commented yesterday that Christchurch has received too much so it is a good thing that some schools are closing. I think he missed the point that it is the process here that is the major cock up.

      But my point is that there are people outside of Christchurch (almost definitley National supporters) who are ‘over it’ and don’t care about the hardships in Christchurch which continue under this government.

      • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 1.1.1

        Many of the Government Ministers do come from the area surrounding Christchurch don’t they? But of course Key doesn’t and getting the casino signed up and the rolling out of Roads of National Importance is more important to him than Christchurch schools, a decent road to Lyttelton port for much-needed commerce, and further out in space, help for regions like Gisborne needing a working rail system for its commerce. That ‘s so unglamorous though, and even the spin doctors can’t make it exciting to the punters.

        Time for another trip overseas and some fast talk over some beverages with movie moguls and movers and shakers of the fantasy world where Key belongs. Might set up a new direction now the fun has gone from the financial derivatives biz.

    • Anne 1.2

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Nationals polling is suggesting many kiwis are just “over it”,

      You’ve got it shorts.

      Contrary to the heavily biased towards National TV media polls, I’ve been told that National’s internal polling is telling a very different story. They are walking on broken egg shells and they know it.

      The Nat Party dirty tricks brigade will be dusting off their arsenal as we speak. Watch out for a lively two years of lies, lies and more dammed lies.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    How many of the schools saved from closure are in National electorates? And how many facing the axe are in Labour electorates? Just asking.

    • shorts 2.1

      some really (rough) maps with that and other info of note here: http://rebuildingchristchurch.wordpress.com/

      • ianmac 2.1.1

        Thanks Shorts. Some strange coincidences? Perhaps not so strange.
        I wonder if the 10 or so that are no longer listed for change, are in more affluent areas? Surely not.

        • Tom Gould 2.1.1.1

          Looks like 70% of the schools to close are in Labour seats, 80% of the schools to merge are in Labour seats, and 100% of the new schools are in National seats. Will they release the vote analysis under the OIA or is it ‘commercially sensitive’?

      • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 2.1.2

        I was trying to get a picture of the areas and schools in my mind. I’ve been visiting Christchurch a lot for a time. This is how the closures look from short’s map to me identifying them roughly by memory. Pretty rough and I didn’t even get the right count.
        Closure
        1 Prebbleton area
        2,3 Sydenham, Beckenham area
        4 Bryndwr area
        5 Shirley area
        6 Avonside area
        7 Linwood area

        Reprieve
        1 and 2 Out Yaldhurst Rd way
        3 Up near Burnside
        4 Belfast east area
        5,6,7,8 Burwood area going south in a line to Linwood-Bromley area
        9 and 10 at foot of Cashmere and Woolston
        Total 10 Reprieve I counted

        Merge
        1,2,3 up Brighton coast
        4,5,6 inland from New Brighton towards north
        7,8 North of Ferrymead area
        9,10 in Lyttelton
        Total of 10 I counted in east and south area

        New
        1 Up near Rangiora
        2,3,4 out Sockburn
        area
        5 South – Lansdowne area

  3. Craig Glen viper 3

    I believe their is another agenda here and that is the removal of intermediates from our School System. On the surface because they only have year 11 and 12 students they appear to be costly but this ignores the huge benefits they are able to deliver to kids at this time in their life. So the Nats are on a purge without making the voters aware and that is to remove intermediates from our state school system.

    • Craig Glen viper 3.1

      Sorry got the years wrong I meant the old form 1 and 2 which is year 7/8 Intermediate age 11/12 years, my mistake.

      • Treetop 3.1.1

        I to thought that intermediates were being culled. My intermediate years were the best years of my schooling.

        • Rogue Trooper 3.1.1.1

          the Viper will carry out “research” and remind you who your teachers were (and, maybe, “crushes” if you ask nicely)

          • Treetop 3.1.1.1.1

            I remember most of my teachers. Rodger Hall the playwright was one of them.

            One of my crushes from intermediate actually asked me out when I was 15. A bit of a regret, as I declined.

  4. Chris 4

    With all the mergers,are the schools affected likely to end up with bigger classes?More pupils to less teachers.

    • fabregas4 4.1

      No, this is calculated by number of children at each school – so shouldn’t really be affected past little adjustments here and there.

      • fabregas4 4.1.1

        Teacher numbers should also be largely unchanged – most Principals will be jobless maybe some DP’s and/or APs in non teaching roles too.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    The main purpose of schools is to provide pupils with enough skills for them to useful to the empire whilst denying them access to information that would make them dangerous to the empire.

    Teach them to be dumbed-down and compliant, stifle self-expression and individuality, and keep them believing the corporatized, industrialised slave camp has a future, even as it collapses.

    • Enough is Enough 5.1

      What the fuck does that rant have to with school megers/closures?

      • fatty 5.1.1

        That ‘rant’ has everything to do with the school closures. Afewknowthetruth’s last sentence sums up the real reasoning behind this attack on the schools.

        Teach them to be dumbed-down and compliant, stifle self-expression and individuality, and keep them believing the corporatized, industrialised slave camp has a future, even as it collapses.

        dumbed-down and compliant …that was the so called ‘consultation process’. The process was dumbed-down by ignoring the vast amount of research that shows the importance of schools in the social and mental development of our children.

        stifle self-expression and individuality …that occurred when the authoritarian fist from the Government stifled the opinion of the children, teachers and parents.

        keep them believing the corporatized, industrialised slave camp has a future, even as it collapses …the neoliberal ideology that underpins the school closures is just another example of TINA. Just as we have austerity to ‘solve’ our failing economy, we apply the same failed economic beliefs to our schooling system – free market, larger scale is cheaper and therefore better, etc.

        I would add one more point to Afewknowthetruth’s ‘rant’: Although self-expression and individuality has been suppressed, paradoxically, the children would have learned from this process that education is not the responsibility of the Government and society, instead, education is the responsibility of the individual and unfairness towards economic victims is natural.

  6. Anne 6

    I believe their is another agenda here and that is the removal of intermediates from our School System.

    Of course Craig Glen viper, who cares about the kids of ordinary working people – owp don’t vote for them.

    The intermediate school system is a safe way to help kids make the transition from childhood to teenage/young adults without undue pressure placed on them. But it’s of no consequence to the Nat govt. because their ‘children’ go to private schools who have the resources etc. to adequately cover that period in a kid’s life.

    That’s why we saw $35 million of our money given to the privates schools and that posh school, Wanganui Collegiate was also saved by a huge injection of our money. Their Nat Party donor mates demanded it as payback for their ongoing support?

  7. Craig, I would much rather we had middle schools (year 7-10) as Clarence Beeby first envisaged them, it was politics that made them for only two years. There has been enough evidence to show that the 7-10 years are often poorly catered for in both primary and secondary schools and having their own school makes a lot of sense. However this Government will never consider anything that may cost a little more money but better meets student’s needs.

  8. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 8

    After listening to the radio interviews on Radionz the whole consultation thing seems to have been a cynical exercise – just pointless and punitive actually, as some of the schools most involved in it have had previous times for adjustment brought forward to very stringent levels. Quite Kafkaesque really. It’s not what intelligent well governed people expect. But I remember feeling dismay at Trevor Mallard’s efforts also – don’t know whether the decisions and process were as bad as this damn NACTiban government (the Taliban don’t like education either).

  9. aerobubble 9

    no, unions are dead. no effect for the good of society. why do teachers hate us!

    Of course families in ChCh should suffer more, even before their homes have
    been rebuilt they should be forced to move their kids to new schools, pay
    more for new uniforms, etc. Kids are so resilient aren’t try.

    Irony off. Sorry, National party disgraceful distracting talking points off.

    So much for the free market, the private insurance companies haven’t paid
    out yet and the government public sector is already moving their kids on!!!
    Who says the education department isn’t efficient! Well in this ONE AREA!

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 9.1

      aerobubble
      Just off the thread but insurance mention reminded me. I heard a resident affected by the Cyclone Sandy off New York saying that some insurance companies had paid out to some clients – and then demanded the money back because they had made a mistake. Had a ‘better’ legal opinion I suppose. So we live in interesting times.

  10. infused 10

    Yawn. Talk back was a good listen this morning. Teachers were the ones using kids as pawns on TV last night. What a fucking joke.

  11. tracey 11

    The pm has announced 27 sas soldiers will remain in afganistan doing arborist work. He said they would do ” prepatree” work.

  12. tracey 12

    Yea those bastard teachers putting kids at the centre of the discussion instead of money and failed experiments

  13. Treetop 13

    Are the Nats being influenced by big insurance payouts on some schools that are to be closed?

    Will the new schools actually be built by the government using the insurance money?

  14. JK 14

    What I know about insurance companies and institutions such as Ministrys and local authoritities is very limited BUT one of the first things they tell you (as an elected person) is Do NOT APOLOGISE because that indicates liability, and therefore the insurance is null and void. This happens with local authorities caught up in flooding/landslips/other “natural” disasters. I would think its possible it has also happened with the Christchruch situation hence only limited apology from govt ministers on certain matters.

  15. Afewknowthetruth 15

    @EiE

    1. Schools as presently constitutes and operated are part of the problem, so we could celebrate their closure.

    2. Schools, as presently constituted and operated have no long term future. All will close far sooner than most people imagine possible because they require huge inputs of energy and resources for little return (other than a cheapish babysitting service).

    Good students learn in spite of the school system, not because of it.

  16. Afewknowthetruth 16

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