There is going to be an announcement on money for schools this afternoon:
Parata will announce how the Christchurch Education Renewal Programme money will be spent, and when, at a function at Peppers Clearwater Resort at 1.30pm.
So Lady Gardiner, our Minister of Education, is going to announce decisions that will impact on schools across Christchurch, but in particular, those in the poorest areas of town. To do this, she’s not chosen a school, but one of Christchurch’s most exclusive golf resorts. Who says the National Party is out of touch of the common man?
Christchurch’s biggest subdivision, Wigram Skies, have just announced that they will be building a their own shopping mall.
Wigram Skies will eventually have 1800 homes and around 4000 residents. It is being built on the former Wigram Aerodrome site.
Ngai Tahu Property development manager Alan Grove said The Landing was intended to cater for residents in surrounding neighbourhoods, not just Wigram Skies.
Great. This place is growing so fast that the market can justify another mall, even though they already have two major malls in Hornby – the Hub and Dressmart – as well as a supermarket and shopping centre not far away at Halswell. Census data showed that this part of town was expanding at one of the fastest rates in the city. So if this place is growing so fast they need another mall, why are they closing the only intermediate school in the hood, at Branston?
National have shown just how much they care about the East by confirming that the strongly opposed Aranui Super School will go ahead as planned. With rumours around about who they might run in the Christchurch East by-election, this would indicate just how seriously they are taking it. Who wouldn’t want to be a new candidate, going around churches and community meetings, having to defend the government’s ideological crusade to close schools for poor people? Or maybe they are exacting their utu on Aaron Gilmore, by riling up the electorate before throwing him into it? But seriously, they won the party vote in the East last time, by quite some margin. They could win this, if they put up a decent candidate, and threw some bribes at the electorate. But closing down schools and experimenting on the children ain’t gonna help anyone.
Last year, I went to a couple of meetings at my old school, Manning Intermediate, to do with the ‘proposed’ closing. Thanks to someone storifying my tweets from the meeting, it seems that one of the officials said that Manning would not close until 2014. The decisions on Monday brought forward that closure date to the end of 2013, a year before the staff and students had been told.
This is the tweet:
Now, having read some of the statements from Manning’s Principal Richard Chambers, it is pretty clear that they did not “choose” to have it closed sooner. It would seem to me that the Ministry has broken their word to the children, parents and community of Manning Intermediate.
ps I’m not sure who the woman was, but in another tweet from the meeting I said:
So about an hour ago, the PM’s twitter account posted this:
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.