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NRT: Unconstitutional and dangerous

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, February 15th, 2013 - 8 comments
Categories: education, national, schools - Tags: ,

From I/S at No Right Turn:


Unconstitutional and dangerous

That’s the Ombudsman’s view of National’s plan to exclude its charter schools from the Ombudsman’s and Official Information Acts:

The bill exempts partnership schools from the Ombudsman’s Act and the Official Information Act, but Dame Beverley Wakem told the select committee that is unconstitutional.

Dame Beverley said the acts ensure that state-funded agencies are accountable and people have a fundamental right to the complaints process provided by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The full submission is here [PDF]. It makes the simple point that state-funded agencies with statutory powers are covered by both acts to ensure accountability and transparency. Its good enough for National’s private prisons, and its good enough for schools as well. In addition, they point out that the Ombudsman has had an important role in ensuring schools provide a safe physical environment for their students (particularly around bullying), and in ensuring that they follow the rules around suspension and exclusion. Ousting their jurisdiction would prevent them from fulfilling those roles – allowing such schools to be dangerous and lawless.

Charter schools will be taking public money and exercising statutory powers. They should therefore be subject to the full constitutional safeguards around such activities. We should not permit National to carve out a secret realm beyond the reach of the law in the education system for its cronies.

8 comments on “NRT: Unconstitutional and dangerous”

  1. Craig Glen viper 1

    So firstly children who go to one of these schools have less prptection then on top of that they have the cheek to suggest less accountability when the schools are getting tax payer funding.

    The oppsition need to be all over this!

    • saarbo 1.1

      I suspect that the fact that the opposition is not “all over this” is the reason that National continues to push dodgy policies such as this.

  2. lprent 2

    I find the idea of having my taxes pay for something that is not transparently accountable to my watchdogs unacceptable. I cannot see why these schools are put ino the same unaccountable bucket as something like current defense operations.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    NZ doesn’t have a Constitution.

    And if it did, our illustrious leaders would say: “It’s just a piece of paper.” (As George Bush said,, as he began the trashing of the Constitution that Obama has put onto hyper-drive)

    • Roflcopter 3.1

      Actually, we do have a constitution, it’s just not a written one.,,, more a collection of a whole load of Acts loosely described as a constitution.

  4. Aww 4

    *slightly off topic*
    I recently complained to the Human Rights Commission regarding a government agency. If I want to obtain compensation for this breach of human rights I need to attempt mediation (according to the Human Rights helpful 0800 line person). Actually I just want it resolved asap.

    The HRC just wrote to me saying that they forwarded my concerns (with my consent) to the head office to see if they will agree to mediation (IF they agree??) – so apparently it is the government agencies choice if I can have my human rights upheld WTF??! Probably I can sort of force them to mediation by filing proceedings and letting the court then shoot down the claim by referring us back to mediation but this is surely a huge waste of money and I can’t afford a lawyer/legal aid for what should be a simple issue to fix.

    Yea, so much for the watchdogs. Woof, bloody woof woof.

    • QoT 4.1

      I don’t know the details of your complaint, obviously, but in general it totally annoys me how “mediation” is the answer to everything. Some basic rights are not topics for let’s-hear-both-sides conversations, they’re basic fucking rights and whoever’s infringing on them should just fucking stop.

    • handle 4.2

      The Ombudsman is more forceful and effective than the HRC, which is why only one of them has spoken up about charter schools being removed from official oversight.

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