She was always going to have to do this after posing with award winners

Photo supplied to Whaleoil

Jacinda Ardern has felt a bit of pressure and is now signalling if not walking back Chris Hipkins’ rhetoric over charter schools.

It is amazing what a bit of personalised pressure will do:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled the Government could make it easier for charter schools to convert to “special character” schools as it moves to end the charter school model.

Ministry of Education officials will meet with the principals of the so-called partnership schools this week after Education Minister Chris Hipkins introduced legislation to scrap the partnership school model introduced by the former National Government and the Act Party.

Labour is offering the schools the chance to convert to “special character” schools which will require them to work within the usual curriculum and have all registered teachers – an option not all schools want to take while others may not meet the criteria.

Ardern said moves could be made to make it easier to become a character school, saying some of those which were now partnership schools had initially applied to be character schools.

“And this is a lesson to us that that process probably needs to be made a little bit more straightforward because they ended up defaulting to a charter school model. So I do hold hope that there is a way forward.”

Jacinda Ardern will be fuming that the arrogant and doctrinaire Chris Hipkins rode roughshod over her carefully crafted “compassionate” media image. What caused her undoing was posing for selfies with Charter school students she had just given awards to. Those students held Ardern’s feet to the fire by publishing those photos and asking where her support was now.

The next step would likely have included burning their awards in full view of TV cameras on her driveway, or ripping them up and sending them back accompanied by Youtube videos of the event and a suitable press release for the media to lap up.

The issue is particularly sensitive for Labour’s Maori MPs Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare and Willie Jackson who had spoken in support of the schools in the past and could face a backlash if they are forced to close.

Several are run by Maori or have a high proportion of Maori students and last year Davis said he would resign if the two schools in Whangarei ended up closing altogether.

The three MPs are due to front publicly on the issue today as a group.

Ardern said the three had not raised it with her directly but did support moves to turn the schools into character schools. “And there are cases where schools will fall into that criteria.”

She said the point Davis was making was that he believed there was a way forward.

“And so do I. I imagine we are going to find the compromise required.”

Kelvin Davis was most at risk… he stupidly said he would resign if schools closed.

Hipkins accused National leader Bill English of scaremongering after English described plans to end the schools as “nasty and vindictive” politics driven by ideology and pressure from unions.

“I think Bill English and his colleagues are very much trying to whip up a campaign of fear around the country.”

He said Labour had always been clear it would deal with the schools on a case-by-case basis to decide which converted and which closed.

“Ringing round all those schools and saying we are about to close them down is irresponsible because we’ve got a process in place around how we are going to deal with them.”

Hipkins screwed this up, make no mistake. His conceited, arrogant and tone-deaf doctrinaire attitude and lack of consultation exposed the government to substantial punitive lawsuits. He is simply trying to deflect from his own ineptness and stupidity. He has embarrassed Jacinda Ardern, and he should fall on his sword. If he had done this under Helen Clark he’d be feeling the cold and unrelenting fury of Heather Simpson.

English has also accused Ardern of being “shameful” for refusing to visit any of the schools to meet students at them.

Hipkins said he would not be at the meeting with the schools because if they applied to be character schools he would have to decide whether to accept it.

That was a legal process which was subject to review, so it would be inappropriate for him to get involved directly in the negotiations.

He denied he had avoided them altogether, saying he visited several prior to the election. He did not believe the schools could not operate under the public school system – and Ardern added the only difference was they would not be able to make a profit.

Hipkins is a fool. Why is he suppressing Martin Jenkin’s report? Why won’t he release it? Is it because the report doesn’t support his obfuscations, bluster and rhetoric?

Release the report Hipkins, and show us the evidence to support your claims.


-NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.