The Minister of Education’s mishandling of partnership schools deserves a ‘not achieved’ and proves he needs to stop his ideological crusade, National’s Education spokespeople Nikki Kaye and Jo Hayes say.
In the latest in a series of blunders, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has denied being served with a claim his treatment of partnership schools breaches the Treaty of Waitangi, despite confirmation from Crown Law such a claim has indeed been filed and served.
“It is not credible that Mr Hipkins didn’t know a Waitangi Tribunal claim had been lodged and served. The Minister is so blinkered New Zealand First will be offering him his own all-weather track soon”, says Ms Kaye.
“This is just the latest example of the Minister’s mismanagement of partnership schools and contempt for the whole process - he has already terminated 10 out of 11 partnership schools, most of which are in a state of limbo about whether they can open next year under another model.
“The Villa Education Trust is still waiting on the Minister to make a decision about the future of its school. It is clear the Minister has received a report and he needs to act swiftly to ensure the school and the students certainty for the Future.
“Prominent Māori leader Sir Toby Curtis has reported schools are fearful of the Minister, saying they have been muzzled and have felt the Minister’s foot on their throats”, National’s spokesperson for Māori Education Jo Hayes says.
“He is arrogantly pressing ahead with legislation to axe partnership schools, tabling amendments to bypass the select committee process and remove the ability for the public and schools to have their say.
“And Kelvin Davis, the Minister responsible for protecting Māori education, has removed himself entirely from the process claiming a conflict of interest and abandoning his responsibilities to young Māori learners. In reality, the only conflict Minister Davis has is his promise to resign when those schools close.
“In the next fortnight it is likely Labour will be bringing this Bill to scrap the schools back to Parliament.”
“The Ministers response to my Parliamentary question indicates another level of incompetence by him and potentially other agencies. Mr Hipkins needs to seriously consider the Tribunal claim and reflect on the appropriateness of proceeding with the legislation to remove the partnership model,” Ms Kaye concludes.
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.”
National’s Māori Education spokesperson Jo Hayes and Māori Development spokesperson Nuk Korako are challenging Labour’s Māori MPs to do what’s right for young Māori.
“In light of the Treaty of Waitangi claim lodged by respected Māori leaders Sir Toby Curtis and Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Labour’s Māori MPs should come out of hiding and stand with them against their colleagues’ decision to axe partnership schools,” Ms Hayes says.
“Sir Toby and Dame Iritana are doing exactly what Labour’s Māori MPs have continually failed to do, and that’s to represent Māori and advocate for what’s best for them.
“They are calling out this Government’s attack on Māori tino rangatiratanga and fighting against the closure of partnership schools, which they rightly believe will have a detrimental effect on Māori.
“Their claim also raises issues about a lack of consultation with Māori on the review of our education system. This Government wants to axe schools that work for Māori and hasn’t bothered to talk to Māori about how to improve the education system for young Māori.”
Mr Korako says Labour’s Māori MPs having been sitting idle for too long while their colleagues continue to attack vulnerable young Māori by scrapping partnership schools.
“Māori people are right to be angry. Many voted for Labour MPs but so far those MPs have achieved nothing for them. It’s the same old Labour, same old attacks on Māori success and aspiration.
“Labour’s Māori MPs are allowing their Government to ride roughshod over partnership schools that have been successful in raising achievement for many young Māori.
“It’s time for Labour’s Māori MPs to start representing their people and fight to keep partnership schools open.”
The Government must listen to Māori leaders who have lodged a Treaty of Waitangi claim alleging that the Government’s axing of partnership schools will have a detrimental effect on Māori, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye and Māori Education spokesperson Jo Hayes say.
“Partnership schools have a proven track record of helping vulnerable young people, many of whom are Māori, to succeed in education,” Ms Kaye says.
“Yet the Government’s Education Amendment Bill includes provisions that will scrap the partnership school model, with no regard for where it leaves the students and their families.
“Now in light of the Treaty claim, the Government should remove the provisions from the Bill and let partnership schools get on with educating our vulnerable young people.
“Education Minister Chris Hipkins has continued to show contempt for these schools throughout the process. He has already terminated 10 out of 11 partnership schools, most of which are in a state of limbo about whether they can open next year under another model.”
Ms Hayes says Labour’s Māori MPs are letting young Māori down by not fighting for the schools.
“Kelvin Davis once threatened to resign if the partnership schools in his electorate were closed by his Government, but since becoming a Minister he has ducked out,” she says.
“These schools currently cater to about 800 young Māori who have no certainty about their future. The schools have been run by iwi and have had some superb results for our kids.
"National stands strong in supporting these schools and their students, and we back Māori leaders in their fight for the schools.”
Ms Kaye says that regardless of Labour’s ideological opposition to partnership schools, the process to terminate them has been flawed at every level.
“The Treaty claim is just the latest development in people fighting for what’s right for our kids. Sir Toby Curtis and Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi are highly respected Māori leaders who have said the Government has ridden roughshod over the futures of young Māori.
“It’s time for the Government to pay attention and leave these schools alone.”
The Government’s education policies demonstrate that Māori are merely an afterthought rather than central to decision-making, National’s new Māori Education Spokesperson Jo Hayes says.
“Scrapping National Standards and closing partnership schools will risk undoing the significant gains made by Māori students in the last few years and take us back to the days when Māori were taught at and not with.
“National Standards were particularly important for those students who were falling behind, many of whom tend to be Māori, because they told teachers and principals where students were at in their learning so that they could provide the right support to lift their achievement.
“But even with the help of National Standards, some Māori students continued to struggle in mainstream education. That’s why the previous Government introduced partnership schools.
“These schools have made a positive difference for many young Māori who have failed in mainstream education, so it’s disappointing that Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis has turned his back on them and is sitting back while his Government shuts them down.
“He should know better that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for Māori and that’s why it’s so important to try new things when it’s clear the mainstream system isn’t effective.
“Partnership schools put the Government to shame when it comes to Māori education – while the Government treats Māori like an afterthought, these schools put Māori achievement front and centre.
“We cannot afford to have a drop in Māori education participation and achievement. It’s time the Government put its ideologies aside and started focusing on what works for Māori.”
Kei āku nui, kei āku rahi, kei āku whakateitei ki te whenua, āku tamarahi ki te rangi. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
I rere mai i nga pā tūwatawata ō tōku Matua Paikea Ariki Apanui, ka tirotiro noa ki nga pae maunga o Hikurangi rāua ko Whetumatarau, hei manu taiko, hei manu taki o ngā waiora o Waiapu rāua ko Awatere hei oranga mō nga uri whakatipu o Hinerupe rāua ko Awatere.
Kei tāku tua, kei tāku aro, āku whakaruruhau Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora rāua ko Te Whānau o Te Aotaihi, kua eke noa i runga te waka o Horouta, he mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.
Te kuku o tōku manawa Te Whānau Apanui rāua ko Te Whānau o Rangihuna, ngā uri whakatipu o Porourangi tēnā koutou katoa.
From the whenua of my father Paikea Ariki Apanui,I look to the mountains of Hikurangi and Whetumatarau as they keep watch over the eternal rivers of Waiapū and Awatere whose sacred waters flow through and give sustenance to my marae of Hinerupe and Awatere. I am guided by my hapū, Te whānau a Tūwhakairiora and Te whānau o Te Aotaihī and transported on my sacred waka of Horouta. I acknowledge my Apanui and Rangihuna whānau of Ngāti Porou.
I rere mai i nga pā tūwatawata ō tōku Whaea Te Arorangi Karaitiana, ka tirotiro hoki ki nga pae maunga o Rangitumau rātou ko Ruapehu ko Tararua, hei manu taki, hei manu taiko o ngā waiora o Ruamahanga rātou ko Whanganui ko Waipoua hei oranga mō nga uri whakatipu o Te Oreore, rātou ko Te Puke ko Akura hoki.
Kei tāku aro, kei tāku tua, āku whakaruruhau ō Ngāti Hāmua, rātou ko Te Uenuku, ko Akura, kua eke noa i runga ngā waka o Kurahaupo rātou ko Aotea, ko Takitimu, he mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.
Te kuku o tōku manawa Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa ka mihi matakuikui ano hoki ki ngā uri whakatipu o Te Whānau Karaitiana rātou ko Te Whānau Te Whareponga, ko Te Whānau Herewini tēnā koutou katoa.
From the lands of my mother Te Arorangi Karaitiana the mountains of Rangitumau, Ruapehu and Tararua make way for the flow of knowledge and strength from my rivers of Ruamahanga, Whanganui and Waipoua. I take shelter in the arms my marae Te Oreore, Te Puke and Akura knowing full well that the whānau and hapū of Ngati Hāmua, Te Uenuku and Akura work to support my iwi of Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa. From my waka of Kurahaupo, Aotea and Takitimu I acknowledge my Karaitiana, Te Whareponga and Herewini Whanau.
Mr Speaker, Tena koe and thank you for inviting me to speak my first words in this House. I am privileged and humbled that I am able to do this in front of my superiors and my peers, my whānau and friends here and at home, and surrounded by the taonga that represents the many wars the people of this nation fought on our behalf so we could live in peace in this our whenua – Aotearoa New Zealand.
Prime Minister the Right Honourable John Key, tena koe tōku rangatira. I am ecstatic to be joining the National caucus team under your outstanding leadership, I bring to you and the National caucus my can-do attitude, my loyalty, and my ability to work diligently within the team and for the people of this country.
Mr Speaker, I wish to mihi to our coalition parties, my whānaunga and co-leader of the Maori Party, the Honourable Tariana Turia, co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, and the Honourable Dr Pita Sharples; the leader of United Future, the Honourable Peter Dunne, and the leader of Act New Zealand, the Honourable John Banks.
I also want to mihi the leaders and members of Parliament from the Opposition benches, and the press gallery.
Mr Speaker, I started my life in the small rural town of Eketahuna the second child of PK and Kate Apanui. My father worked on Te Hoe station in Alfredton and played rugby for Eketahuna and the under 21 Wairarapa Bush side. As a child my parents moved from Eketahuna to yet a smaller rural town of Rangiwahia. It was here where I spent my childhood. Both my parents dedicated their lives to ensuring we had kai on our table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. We were poor in money, yet rich in love and support for each other.
Yes Mr Speaker, I come to Parliament from a tight knit whānau with a background of hard work and an attitude that nothing is insurmountable. My father believed that if one worked hard, one would reap their just rewards. He knew that our world would be so different to his and so he instilled the whakatauki (proverb) E Tipu E Rea from our tūpuna and one of the first Maori MPs Sir Apirana Ngata. Those words encouraged us to take hold and learn the ways of the Pakeha world while holding on to our Maori world. My father modelled that whakatauki throughout his life – he wanted our future to be one of reaping the rewards that we all worked hard for.
Mr Speaker in 1997 my father succumbed to cancer and is buried at Ᾱkura in Masterton and I miss him dearly because I was his wild child – turned good.
I am fortunate to have my mother in the gallery this afternoon along with my whānau, extended whānau, hapū, and Iwi. Mum was the disciplinarian and educationalist of my parents and today she is a Nan but also a Great Nan and a kuia for Wairarapa, and a member of the Wairarapa kaumatua group. Kia ora Mum, kia ora whānau whānui.
Mr Speaker, it wasn’t until I left home that my life changed dramatically. At age 22 I became an unmarried mother, on the domestic purposes benefit with little to no education qualifications. It was this fright that changed me forever and I adopted the saying “if it has to be, then it’s up to me”. So I started a successful re-education programme which persists.
Along the way I met my soulmate, a man who took me and my son into his life and has believed in us. A man who at times says little but does a lot. A man who I am proud to have by my side, and one whom I am proud to stand by his side. We are equal partners in everything we do and I love him to bits. Mr Speaker please meet my husband, Pat. Kia Ora Pat
Our son’s Mat and Ben, who are unable to be here today, have bought immense pleasure and pride to our lives as we have watched them and guided them towards adulthood. They are now men of the world with all the lessons that that brings. Thanks to my daughter-in-law Shan for producing two beautiful mokopuna, Carter and Eli. For it is them who carry the future of all our tomorrows and Nani J loves you.
Mr Speaker, I have been blessed with a number of opportunities in my life, but these would have been for nought had it not been for the people that I have met along the way. And there are too many to mention here but you all know who you are and I thank you for your support and guidance.
To my friends who have come here today to support me and to those who are watching at home, I thank you all for without you even knowing it your influence and support of me has been invaluable.
Mr Speaker, as you can see I come to Parliament having walked many roads and learned many lessons yet still I want more, because I haven’t finished yet.
My past has shaped my future, my family is my foundation, my mokopuna keep me real, and my friends continue to support me on the many journeys I have made and are yet to make.
Mr Speaker, today I take the road less travelled than others and one where I can utilise my skills and experience and learn new ones. I come to Parliament after contesting the 2011 election in the Dunedin South electorate and winning the party vote – a historical feat for the National Party and one that I am most proud. I thank the Dunedin electorate teams and send you my heartfelt thanks to Robyn Broughton, Pippa Newstead, the Young Nats, and volunteers
Mr Speaker, I bring a wealth of experience, both community and professional. I was one of the first school boards of trustees to take on the Tomorrow’s Schools challenge, serving for a number of years at our local primary schools as chair and treasurer. Then later as deputy chair of FAHS Feilding High School.
I bring my professionalism in the health, education, welfare, business, and rural sectors. I have worked in the community and for the community, I have worked for government agencies and in local government, and throughout my career I have taken people with me as the journey has not been about me alone.
Mr Speaker, I am proud to be a member of National and I want to thank our party president Peter Goodfellow, the board with a special mention to regional chairs Kate Haslett and Roger Bridge, electorate chairs Ele Ludemen and Malcolm Plimmer, and the service centre staff for all their hard work.
Most importantly though I pay tribute to the many volunteers and party supporters that make this party a great party to be a member of and to be a servant of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Mr Speaker, as the newest National MP, I bring a rigid determination to make a difference for all people of Aotearoa New Zealand and to be an outstanding hardworking National member of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, ka mutu taku korero tuatahi kei roto i tenei whare.
Nā reira koutou, kua rāmenemene mai i runga i te whakaaro kotahi, ara te whare tāwharau nei.
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.