In his letter to the paper on February 23 G Oudemans says that Labour closed 280 schools in it’s nine years in government. It would be a convenient argument – if only it were true. In response to a written question from Green MP Catherine Delahunty, Hekia Parata said that there were not 281 school closures in that time, but 205. Of these 205, 90 were voluntary closures (a decision made by the Board, not the Minister), which means that only 115 were forced. This works out at around a dozen schools a year. It should also be noted that these closures were spread across the whole country, not focussed in on one city that had just suffered through the most devastating natural disaster in modern New Zealand history. 

This 281 figure was repeated by the Prime Minister, first on his twitter account, and then in the House. It shows that this government’s desire to play fast and loose with the facts around school closures comes right from the top.