“Today Judith Collins said that National will prioritize lifting achievement, but their track record reveals the very opposite, said Mr Peters.
“Why would any parent or educator trust the National Party with education when in the decade they were in charge they introduced National Standards and oversaw our children’s reading drop to the lowest level ever recorded?”
“New Zealand First required this Coalition Government to have a nationwide conversation about what parents really want for their children.
“Parents want their children to be supported to be their best, knowing that success looks different for every child. Parents also want their children to be happy and healthy. During the nine years of National our children’s mental health progressively deteriorated,” stated Mr Peters.
“We also note that inside the announcement, when National refers to ‘reduc(ing) the need to impose restrictive zoning requirements’ that this is a nod to the elite part of town.
“The result? We would get white flight and this would lead to the “haves and the have nots” being even more pronounced,” stated Tracey Martin.
“New Zealand First supports every local school being resourced to support your child to be their best, not just those from the leafy suburbs.
“The $160 million annual fund for additional support for behavioral and learning is a re-announcement of what I have already announced,” said Tracey Martin.
“Nearly $160 million will go towards helping those students by lifting their base support over the next four years, and by providing extra short-term support in response to the impact of Covid-19.
“While it’s nice to see that National has finally seen the logic in smaller class sizes how can they be trusted to deliver when their last long term Minister of Education in 2012 announced increased class sizes.
“National will bring back Charter Schools but let’s not forget how bad they have been at negotiating contracts. That’s how a failed charter school got to keep the farm. Five point two million dollars of public education money was handed over because of a poorly written contract by the then National Government,” stated Tracey Martin.
“National also say they want to abolish the annual teacher registration fee. They have short memories as they are the ones who increased the workload of the council so that fees had to be increased. They also removed all teacher elected representation from their own council. New Zealand First would lower these costs to the professional body by removing the tasks that should be undertaken by the Ministry of Education.
“In ECEC they have the $3000 per baby, this is a re-announcement of what the Coalition put into place via ‘Best Start’ in our first 100 days. The ‘Best Start’ payment is $60 per week for every child for their first year – which adds up to $3120 – it is my understanding that there will be income test applied to the ‘Best Start’ payment to fund this. That means National will be taking from some babies in their first year to fund this promise.
“Strangely, at the moment, the second and third year of the ‘Best Start’ payment is already income tested so National’s announcement looks like a smoke and mirrors re-heat of what is already exists, but with cuts.
“National’s revamped ‘Before School Check’ is again a re-heating of work we are already doing,” stated Tracey Martin.
“Then Minister of Health, David Clark, was already working on upgrading the ‘Before School Check’ to provide greater support.
“Creating a digital passport for children’s progress is yet another re-announcement of what I have been working on for the last three years. It is call Te Rito,” said Tracey Martin.
New Zealand First also notes that there is no commitment to the second tranche of Learning Support Co-ordinators and that the announced $480 million of funding (over four years divided by 2500 state schools) is an election bribe that will do nothing practical to actually help children.
“Whatever National is focusing on, it’s not education,” said Mr Peters.