The Government’s Bill to amend the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act to allow licensed premises to remain open for Rugby World Cup (RWC) matches is a step in the right direction, but the lack of detail is a concern, National’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“National raised these issues at Parliament’s Business committee a month ago and the Government is only just responding now. As a result there is now tight timeframes to consider this law, so it is important we see the detail as soon as possible.
“National is still worried about the approximately 40,000 households who may not have access to all the games due to no connections, substandard connections or affordability. Ensuring rural areas have adequate access to the games is crucial and we want to make sure the licensing rules are flexible enough to accommodate pubs and clubs in rural areas.
“We’ve worked alongside David Seymour and organisations who represent pubs and clubs such as Hospitality NZ and Clubs NZ on this issue. We believe that in the long run it’s important we have a better licensing regime for major sporting events that means Parliament doesn’t have to pass a rushed law every time.
“We hope to see the detail of proposed legislation as soon as possible so these issues can be worked through given the tight timeframes with a Select Committee considering these issues next week.”
National is pushing for extended opening hours so that more New Zealanders can watch Rugby World Cup (RWC) games, National’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Nikki Kaye says
“Estimates indicate that there are around 40,000 households who will not have access to RWC broadcasts. For them it may be the case they have to go to a local sports club, RSA or pub to watch the game.
“Rural communities and other parts of New Zealand don’t have access to coverage of the games due to a lack of broadband connections or substandard connections.
“Clubs NZ has said that half of their clubs, which includes RSAs, won’t have licences that go late enough for them to show all the RWC games.
“National raised these issues at Parliament’s Business committee a month ago but it appears nothing has happened. With only a month until the World Cup kicks off it is important these issues are resolved quickly.
“Hospitality NZ has said that extended opening hours without the need for special licenses could help an estimated 60 per cent of their members, who are otherwise likely to have issues with being open during some games.
“In 2015 National supported the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Rugby World Cup 2015 Extended Trading Hours) Amendment Bill. David Seymour is also introducing a Members Bill this time around and we will support that.
“National is also looking into wider law changes around events like this, to ensure there doesn’t need to be specific amendments made every time they occur.
“Kiwi rugby fans cannot wait for the Government to get its act together. National will be pushing for this issue to be dealt with urgently.”
An Education Review Office report on the Government’s Digital Technologies (DT) curriculum demonstrating over one-third of schools surveyed have no understanding of how to implement it is very concerning, National’s spokesperson for Education Nikki Kaye says.
“Only about half of respondents felt it was easy to locate content information. Of the remainder, 35 per cent found it difficult and 14 per cent had not even started looking.
“On the DT curriculum, one principal explained ‘We’ve missed out in the past; the process is onerous; haven’t tried again’.
“National is hugely committed to upskilling our young New Zealanders for the digital world. That’s why we invested over $40 million to support the uptake of digital technologies as a key part of the curriculum.
“There is clearly a professional learning and development (PLD) issue. One principal complained, ‘The PLD model puts up barriers to accessing PLD, the complicated process of applying makes it very difficult to get good-quality providers when we need them.’
“This is a government that has been more focussed on reviews than implementing core curriculum and as a result children are missing out.
“It is clear that the government has not provided adequate information to schools or professional development to ensure teachers are ready to deliver the digital curriculum.
“The Minister needs to urgently rectify this so schools can be equipped to ensure children are digitally fluent by next year. It is clear that the previous government’s target of mandating the digital technologies curriculum by 2020 is seriously at risk.”
A number of principals are disappointed with the Government’s unfair and inequitable allocation of learning support coordinators around New Zealand, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“Earlier this week, Tracey Martin said she was ‘really pleased’ with her allocation of the policy and would not change her decisions, despite many schools with disadvantaged kids missing out.
“The Minister justified the backlash on her policy by stating ‘We seem to live in a world where somebody’s got to complain about everything’.
“Parents and principals have told me they are disappointed with the allocation. For example, only a couple of learning support coordinators have been allocated to north of Whangarei – this is unacceptable.
“Information released showed Oranga Tamariki raised concerns about the way this crucial learning support is allocated.
“The Minister has taken a ‘Yes Minister’ approach rather than focussing on targeting areas with children in need.
“I am calling on the Minister to either provide additional support to cover neglected areas, or change her allocation to be more fair and equitable so that children with complex needs get the support that they deserve.”
The Government’s announcement of more learning support coordinators has been allocated in a way which is deeply unfair and will see the schools most in need missing out, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“While it’s positive to have additional learning support coordinators, the Government took nine months to sort this out and hasn’t done the work to make sure the coordinators are going where they are most needed.
“It appears the Government was not looking at which schools have the most need but instead has only allocated to schools who are currently implementing the Government’s learning support delivery model.
“I have been contacted by upset and angry principals who have huge need and weren’t offered the opportunity to be part of this and didn’t know this would be the criteria.
“This means a school that may already have huge resource might get one or two people and schools with little or no resource with high needs miss out. Just like the school donation scheme this Government is not targeted and has demonstrated dumb decisions which entrench inequity.
“Nine months ago the Prime Minister committed to 600 learning support coordinators in schools by early 2020. We know the delay means many schools are unlikely to get the person in time for term one.
“We still don’t have the answers to teacher shortages and whether schools will be able to fill those 600 roles.
“The recent learning support action plan is not funded in a number of areas with some criticising it will take six years to deal with the waiting lists.
“This Government promised big in education but time and time again it has broken its promises to New Zealanders and failed to deliver.”
Questions around the Government’s vague donations policy and whether schools will still be able to ask for payments towards camps or other outdoor education programmes needs to be resolved quickly, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“Several weeks ago Education Minister Chris Hipkins was forced to confirm he would have to change his school donations policy so schools would be able to charge for camps, and still claim the $150 per student government grant.
“Unfortunately, we do not have the final detail around school camps and activities and will what can’t be asked for if a school takes the donation payment.
“Schools around the country have open evenings for parents coming up, and they need the details now so they can communicate what the school will be delivering next year.
“Principals have reported to me they are aware that the Minister plans to provide a legislative fix for the school camp issue. An SOP tabled directly in the House would deliberately bypass the Select Committee process and in my view is about the Minister’s desire to reduce scrutiny of the policy and not be accountable for his policy botch up.
“Schools wouldn’t be in this situation if Mr Hipkins had worked out the details of his policy at the outset and not rushed the Bill through Select Committee.
“School camps are important learning opportunities for children, and a key part of Kiwi children’s learning experience. The Minister needs to be clear about the detail of the policy regarding school camps and outdoor education.
“The Bill is scheduled to come back to the House next week, but schools want the information now.”
City Rail Link delays are having a devastating impact on Albert St businesses, MP for Auckland Central Nikki Kaye says.
“Some businesses have closed and others are struggling to stay open. At a meeting today in Central Auckland, I briefed local Councillors on this issue alongside Heart of the City and some of the affected businesses.
“I have previously argued there needs to be some business disruption or financial hardship assistance available for these businesses.
“Originally the Mayor and Transport Minister Phil Twyford were very cool on the idea. I subsequently wrote multiple letters and arranged a number of meetings, and as a result the Minister has indicated he is seeking further advice and is open to ideas for solutions.
“It is my strong view this is a unique situation where the scale of the delays and their impact has been so significant that a small package should be developed for businesses. At the meeting Heart of the City presented information on a scheme that has operated in Sydney where there have been delays to projects.
“There are now reports that Auckland Council has sent a concept proposal to the Government which sounds positive. It is also great to see local Councillors coming on board to support the businesses. This puts a greater onus on the Mayor and the Minister, as shareholders of City Rail Link Limited, to resolve this.”
Principals are contacting the Opposition to express concerns about finding out they are being left with thousands of dollars of bills due to reliever teachers or teachers funded by boards receiving a $1500 lump sum payment if they are union members, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“Novopay put out a notice which has led to principals’ concerns. The Government has dropped the ball by not providing funding to reimburse for the cost, which is what people assumed.
“This is another blow to principals, at the same as primary principals striking and secondary principals yet to settle. This will not help with settlement negotiations as principals see this as another example of poor treatment.
“In all of the communications from the Minster and the Ministry they never said they wouldn’t pay for a large group of teachers’ lump sum payments and that these costs would be passed on to boards.
“Paying the lump sum for relievers is complicated as to who pays the amount, as many relievers will have pro rata payments and may have worked at multiple schools.
“Principals and boards are going to have budget blowouts and will have to either fundraise or redirect money from student learning. The Minister either knew and deliberately didn’t mention there was no extra money covering this or he and the Ministry have been incompetent in not providing for this funding.
“The Government should step in and do the right thing and rectify this.
“This is another example of poor communication and incompetence in the way that the settlement has been handled.”
“Congratulations to the Silver Ferns on their stunning Netball World Cup win in Liverpool, they played throughout the tournament with real grit and determination, National’s Sport and Recreation spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“The Silver Ferns faced challenges prior to the tournament but through perseverance, superb teamwork and great leadership they won the cup. This is also the first Netball World Cup win for New Zealand in 16 years, a great boost for netball in New Zealand.
“The team has layers of depth and it is great to see some of the longer serving players to be able to take home the cup.
“Coach Noelene Taurua also deserves massive praise for her outstanding leadership throughout the last 11 months. She is hugely respected at home and abroad. Netball NZ and CEO Jennie Wylie have also worked incredibly hard to ensure the team has the best support possible.
“All New Zealanders should be proud of the Silver Ferns Netball world cup win in Liverpool. I have no doubt they will receive a heroes welcome when they come home.”
Reports that the Ministry of Education could take months to process pay rises as a result of the settlement is unacceptable, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“While it is good that Education Minister Chris Hipkins has said he will be ‘following up’ on the issue, there needs to be more urgency in sorting this out. The Minister should give an update on what is hopefully a revised timeline within the next 48 hours.
“I agree with NZEI that the Ministry of Education should be ensuring all resources are put into making this happen given there will be a number of teachers that will have been relying on these funds coming through.
“I have had messages from teachers frustrated and concerned about the delays. Some teachers are questioning the double standard where it took two pay cycles for the education payroll to deduct funds for strike action, but five pay cycles and close to three months since the actual date of settlement to ensure teachers are paid properly.
“The Government has prolonged negotiations for over a year for secondary teachers. The Ministry and Education Payroll had a long time to prepare for this.
“The reality is there are tens of thousands of teachers with bills to pay and mortgages that need the Minister and agencies to deal with this matter urgently.”