Sir Toby Curtis says Hipkins & Teachers’ unions are treating Maori differently

Sir Toby Curtis

Urgency is being sought for a hearing to address Maori being prejudiced by the Crown’s destruction of Kura Hourua Partnership Schools

Claimants Sir Toby Curtis, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Dame Tariana Turia and Pem Bird have filed for their Treaty of Waitangi claim, Wai 2770, to be heard by the Waitangi Tribunal with urgency.

Their claim, on behalf of themselves and Maori generally, takes issue with the acts and omissions of the Crown in respect of the closure of Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua.

Notable Maori educator Sir Toby Curtis said

The state system has been failing our kids for 178 years, we finally get a schooling system that works for our young people and Minister Hipkins acts unilaterally, without considering evidence of their success, and without consulting with our people, to destroy them. This Minister has resorted to bullying to have his way, and in so doing has disproportionately prejudiced Maori compared to non-Maori.[…]

From where we stand, this Government’s claims that the reduction of child poverty and the welfare of young people is a paramount focus lacks substance, in the face of Kura Hourua being closed they are empty claims. Educational success is key for our whanau who have aspirations for a better life for their children and who are seeking to escape deprivation and poverty. The State Education system might be working for a lot of people, but for the last 178 years it hasn’t addressed Maori and Pasifika educational under-achievement, which these Kura Hourua were. End quote.

[…] This Minister has decided without consultation to close all 11 Kura Hourua by Christmas, while shortly afterwards committing to extensive consultation around the review of Tomorrow’s Schools and NCEA. Minister Hipkins has acted in concert with the Teachers’ Unions to treat Maori differently and decide unilaterally to close 11 schools that were achieving extraordinary results for our young people, that is inequity, pure and simple End quote.

Act leader David Seymour has said that the Labour Party has “sent Māori to the back of the bus” by forcing through legislation that makes the charter school contracts illegal. Quote.

The government is undertaking widespread consultation on the future of the education sector such as its NCEA and Tomorrow’s Schools review, but refuses to do the same for schools even when a Treaty claim is lodged. Why the double standard?

The Prime Minister said in her Speech from the Throne and in the house her government would honour existing irrigation contracts but not charter school contracts. Well, what exactly is the government’s standard for honouring contracts?

New Zealanders simply going about their business deserve not to be bullied by the state and have the rules changed arbitrarily mid-game.

What is the government’s view on the status of the Treaty of Waitangi? Is it a partnership between two peoples, in which case Māori deserve to have been consulted on these changes. Or does the Treaty mean that all New Zealanders have the same rights, in which case the decision to honour some contracts and not others offends that basic principle. Chris Hipkins refused to state what the Treaty means to this government during debate on the bill in the house today.

Chris Hipkins is prepared to risk an adverse Waitangi Tribunal claim in order to do the bidding of the teachers unions, but refuses to say how he would respond to it.

What will the Minister do if he has passed this legislation and the Tribunal hands down an adverse finding? Will he have the political capital within his caucus to steamroll Waitangi Tribunal? What will it look like for his ministerial warrant to go to court and have to pay out compensation?

All of this could be solved by the government hitting pause on the Education Amendment Bill’s commencement date until the Waitangi Tribunal has offered its finding. End quote.

You can check out www.saveourschools.nz for further information on Kura Hourua closures and the Treaty Claim.


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