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National’s Māori Education spokesperson Jo Hayes says that with Dr Lance O’Sullivan joining the fight for partnership schools and National’s commitment to reinstating partnership schools if they are scrapped, the Government must not go ahead with axing them.

“We know that partnership schools make a real difference to the lives of kids who haven’t found success in mainstream schools, including hundreds of young Māori and Pasifika,” Ms Hayes says.

“But this Government is putting ideology and the unions before the children and promising to shut the schools down. National is committed to not letting that happen.

“We continue to stand by Māori leaders like Sir Toby Curtis, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Pem Bird and now Dr Lance O’Sullivan, who have voiced their strong opposition to the Government’s policy to get rid of the schools.

“These leaders, like National, know that so many young Māori have thrived at partnership schools and we applaud them for being brave enough to speak out against the Government’s heartless policy.

“It’s disappointing we can’t say the same for the Māori MPs in the Coalition Government who are failing our young Māori by removing a ladder to their success.

“National is committed to making sure that ladder remains. It’s not too late for the Government to show that same commitment and let partnership schools stay open.”

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