So about an hour ago, the PM’s twitter account posted this:


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A couple of folk on twitter had a look on goggle etc to find the source of this 280 schools figure. Dovil suggested that it was from the UK. People then found some stuff on Scoop – a couple of press releases from the minor parties (ACT, Greens) suggesting that up to 300 schools were to close. I quickly googled to see how many schools there were in NZ – around two and a half thousand, which would suggest that if 280 were to close, that would be over 10% of schools across the country. I think we would have known if that was the case.

Anyway, it turns out there is a handy website which has all this info – one that is run by the ministry that that Terrible Man Chris Hipkins used to work for. They have a spreadsheet which you can download which contains information on schools from 2000 – 2012. In case you can’t be bothered downloading it yourself, I’ve done it for you. In July of 2000, there were 2724 schools in the country. In July 2008, there were 2584. That’s a difference of 140.

140 schools means 140 communities. I’m not endorsing the closure of any schools. But there is a big difference between 140 and 280. Maybe on Planet Key, 140 is “over 280”, but not on Planet Maths. The question of who “via staff” is remains open, but the point is still that the Prime Minister is using his personal twitter account to spread misinformation about someone in the opposition who used to work in a department that closed some schools, in a sad attempt to distract from the actual schools that his actual minister is actually closing right now. 

For a man who’s previous job involved working at Merrill Lynch, the bank that required over $20 billion of bailout funds from the American taxpayer, triggering the Global Financial Crisis that he and his government seem to blame on Labour, you’d think he’d be a bit more circumspect about dredging up people’s previous work experience as political fodder.

I’m posting this in the forlorn hope that our political reporters will actually check the facts, rather than just parroting the government’s attack lines without thought. 

UPDATE: A written question was asked of the minister, which is available here. Shows that a number of the closures were actually voluntary.