Turei Takes on Education Again.
National's determined attack on education over the last four years has created a demoralised sector that has little energy left apart from protecting children and students from the worst of the changes. The little remaining energy is totally sucked up in dealing with the Novapay debacle. It is estimated that around $12 million is owed to schools who have been supporting underpaid staff and it has cost $8 million in staff overtime in trying to sort out the many problems.
The Green Party focused on child poverty as one of our three campaigns during the last election and while this is still as important as ever, saving our public education system is also becoming a priority. For many children suffering from poverty or inadequate living conditions, schools provide a valuable respite and a stable and caring environment. It is too risky to place children in the likes of Charter Schools (in the care of unregistered teachers) or limiting children's potential through National Standards.
Catherine Delahunty has been the Green's spokesperson for the last three years and has earned the respect of the education sector for the energy and passion she has put into the role but with increasing concerns about the damage being caused to the system under this National led Government extra Green fire power has been called in. Co-leader Metiria Turei has been the Greens education spokesperson before and now she returns with Catherine in a supporting role.
Already Metiria has had Hekia Parata on the ropes and resorting to talking around the questions and needing assistance from the new Speaker. As Parata is becoming increasingly isolated, and is obviously ignoring all advice, there is much interest in her announcement regarding the Christchurch schools. This will be a test to see how much she is prepared to move to accommodate the wishes of the Christchurch communities or whether her single minded arrogance and National Party agenda will dominate again.
Whatever happens Parata now has two strong Green women watching her every move and asking the hard questions. The Education Minister will be wishing she had resigned when she had the chance.