More mixed messages on Charter schools

Credit: Luke

Hitman Hipkins is trying to “soften” his words of last week, no doubt at Ardern’s request given her back down yesterday. He is definitely giving mixed messages because his press release made it crystal clear that if charter schools refused to walk the plank they would be shot. He used the word terminate and said that termination of the schools was his preferred option but now…

[…] We’re working through options with existing charter schools and we’ll negotiate with them in good faith. Despite the scaremongering, we’re not moving to close them down arbitrarily. The most likely outcome will see existing charter schools transition to another form of public education, and the students who attend them probably won’t even notice the difference. Our commitment is to quality public education that provides every young New Zealander with the opportunities they need to thrive.


It is a complete contradiction of what he said previously and it ignores the fact that unless the legislation is altered there is no pathway for the schools to transition to special character status. Some media are buying the hype and think that the schools currently have a genuine option to transition.

Changes to charter schools won’t see them shut down – they’ll just have a new name

OPINION: All signs are pointing to none of the eleven charter schools closing down.

In the last week there has been protest, confusion and mixed messages over the future of the schools opened under the National government on the back of a supply and confidence agreement with ACT.

[…] The reality is no order has been given to shut their doors and Education Minister Chris Hipkins would be shooting himself in the foot if he didn’t find a way to keep them open.

Tweaks will need to be made to various legislation, but the point is that the Government will make whatever changes are necessary to keep those schools open.

Will they? Ardern has recently said that they will but the schools have been put on a deadline and the clock is ticking.


Labour’s deputy leader Kelvin Davis said he’d resign if the two charter schools in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate closed down. The reality is they won’t.

Will they be called charter schools? Absolutely not. That model will cease to exist when the legislation to repeal them kicks in.

Will the children that attend those schools notice much difference when they’re called something other than a charter school? Unlikely.

The Government (not just Kelvin Davis, Willie Jackson and Peeni Henare who all have skin in the game) can see merit in them staying open.

That’s because most of those schools provide something extra, something different or something better for the students attending them than what the current state school system does.

[…] Most of the eleven charter schools teach to the curriculum and have fully registered teachers.

[…] In Hipkins own words: “The kids won’t notice any difference because it’s transferring the schools from part of the Act to another part of the Act. In terms of what the kids do on a daily basis – they literally wouldn’t notice a difference.”

[…] The Ministry of Education is rushing this week to speak to as many operators as possible (admittedly, speeding up that process in the first instance could have saved some of the anguish over the last few days).

There’s no doubt the transition isn’t going to be as simple as moving them all to designated character schools.

[…] Taking a heavy-handed approach is not in Hipkins’ best interests […]

Until the government make the necessary changes to the special character legislation all the backtracking and promises of good faith negotiations are totally worthless.


 – Stuff

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

You can follow me on 

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.