Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Charter Schools – John Key’s re-assurances

Charter Schools – John Key’s re-assurances



1. The Prime Minister’s ‘committments’

Three months ago, Dear Leader gave assurances that National would dump Charter Schools if they failed to “work”.  He said,

If they don’t work then the Government will close them down very quickly – if they do work then it will be great for the children involved.” – source

Key then added,

If you look at the US where they are the most prevalent – there are about 5,500. Not all of them are successful but many of them are.” – Ibid

Those two statements are unfortunate for two reasons;

2. The Prime Minister’s ‘credibility’

Without beating about the bush and indulging in ‘niceties‘, John Key’s credibility is shot to hell.

As detailed in  previous blogposts and elsewhere on other blogs and in the MSM, John Key has not always told the truth, nor fulfilled his committments.

Past pledges and promises have been broken. Promises such as,

There are also instances where statements made by Key which have stretched our credulity,

More here.

And often indulges in flatout bullshit such as this little gem  on the public ownership of natural resources,

… So if you accept that viewpoint, then I think you have to accept that elements like water and wind and the sun and air and fire and all these things, and the sea, along with natural resources like oil and gas, are there for the national interest of everyone. They’re there for the benefit of all New Zealanders, not one particular group over another. “

See: TVNZ Q+A Interview with Prime Minister John Key

Politicians have a poor reputation when it comes to telling the truth. In the case of our current Prime Minister, in this blogger’s opinion, he has made bending the truth; with-holding information; and outright lying into a whole new artform.

No wonder there is a joke floating around cyberspace, on Facebook, blogs, and elsewhere,

Q: How can to tell John Key is lying?
A: His lips are moving.

Which probably explains why politicians are viewed with such disdain; League Tables that really count!

3. The Prime Minister’s ‘truthfulness’

Key said,

If you look at the US where they are the most prevalent – there are about 5,500. Not all of them are successful but many of them are.”

As usual, Dear Leader’s comments can never be taken at face value.

The truth is that a Stanford University CREDO analysis of Charter Schools in the US revealed the disturbing fact that only 17% of American charter schools did better than non-charter schools.

See: Stanford University: Charter School Performance in 16 States (USA)

The rest achieved same, or worse results,



Source: Wikipedia Charter Schools (based on CREDO study)

So who will trust John Key on this issue?

Who will trust Key’s committment when he says “if they [Charter Schools ] don’t work then the Government will close them down very quickly” – when he doesn’t even give us accurate information about the efficacy of Charter Schools?

Telling us that “not all of them are successful but many of them are” – is disingenuous. It is a deliberate ploy to mislead the public.

And proves yet again – if evidence was needed – that this man is the most untruthful Prime Minister we have had since —?

4. Furthermore…

John Key assures us, hand-on-heart, that “if they [Charter Schools ] don’t work then the Government will close them down very quickly“…

Which is all very nice (if he can be taken at his word, which is doubtful), but how will he know if Charter Schools “don’t work “?

Actually, we won’t know.

National intends to remove Charter Schools from all public scrutiny and will be exempt from Official Information Act requests. All information regarding Charter Schools will be kept secret by National,


Full story


To put it mildly, this is an extraordinary state of affairs. A radical new experiment in education will not be open to public scrutiny. According to John Banks, the architect of this crazy programme,



Ombudsmen Act and Official Information Act (OIA)

These acts would not apply to Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua because they are not Crown Entities. This is the same case for private schools.

This will help to ensure Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua are not susceptible to costly and vexatious requests. The contract will specify the information that must be provided to government, and this will be subject to the OIA.”

Source:  Office of the Associate Minister of Education (Hon John Banks) – Developing and Implementing a New Zealand Mode of Charter School

It’s interesting that a politician with the lowest reputation for honesty and openess in this country’s history – John Banks – has decided that Charter Schools will be exempt from OIA requests and Ombudsman oversight.

Banks’ attempted to justify this paranoid secrecy by suggesting that Charter Schools would be “susceptible to costly and vexatious requests“.




And scandalous.

5. Summing up…

So what do we have here?

  1. The  Prime Minister promises that  “if they [charter schools] don’t work then the Government will close them down very quickly “.
  2. Key assured the public that ” not all of them are successful but many of them are ” – ignoring the truth that only 17% of Charter schools in the US have been deemed “better” by a Stanford University CREDO study.
  3. There will be no public oversight of Charter schools.
  4. The Minister in charge of Charter Schools, John Banks, justified the removal of public oversight and secrecy on the flimsiest of excuses.
  5. The public will have to rely on the National Party for accurate and impartial reporting of Charter Schools progress. (Imagine Key’s reaction had Labour proposed such a thing! Imagine the cries of “nanny state” and “Helengrad”?!))
  6. Neither John Banks nor John Key are held in high regard in many parts of New Zealand society. Key is known for breaking promises; abandoning committments; and mis-representing the truth. John Banks was engaged in dishonest activities surrounding his mayoral campaign donations; lied about his activities; claimed “forgetfulness”; and was investigated by the police. He was not prosecuted – but only because his actions went beyond a statute of limitations. (Banks still refuses to publicly release a record of his police interview, despite his assertion of “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”.)

This blogger finds nothing reassuring in the utterances of John Key and John Banks.

An incoming Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana government has no option but to close down this dodgy programme, or at the very least, incorporate these schools into the state system.

Otherwise, Charter schools are a ‘time-bomb’ waiting to go off.

Does Shearer really, really want such a  legacy from John Banks?




Previous related blogposts

Christchurch, choice, and charter schools

Charter Schools – Another lie from John Banks!

Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland (Part Rua)


TV3: Key defends charter schools trial

Otago Daily Times: PM vows charter schools out the door if they fail

NZ Herald: Charter schools escape scrutiny

Radio NZ: Charter school group wants to register unqualified teachers


Many oppose proposed charter school

Charter schools: They’re not better for our kids

Other Blogs

Seemorerocks:  One video exposes Key, GCSB’s & Banks’ Dotcom lies

Not PC: John Key lies [updated]

Infonews:  National’s growing list of broken promises



= fs =

  1. Alison W
    2 November 2012 at 7:42 pm

    It depends on what the government’s perception of them ‘working’ is, if they mean that charter schools are working because they are profiting businesses, and dumbing down children, all at the tax payer’s expense, then I’m sure they’ll consider them as being highly successful.

  2. Noel F
    2 November 2012 at 8:09 pm

    3 months ago… that’s a while… I can’t recall…

    • KSJ
      2 November 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Its not that John lies or forgets its just those “dynamic times” we live in eh Noel?

      • Noel F
        2 November 2012 at 9:36 am

        Karen – I couldn’t possibly comment .. an ass-covering cliche from former, less dynamic, times 🙂

  3. JM
    2 November 2012 at 8:15 pm

    WE know already that Charter schools don’t work. The consensus is so bad that the government changed the name to avoid the obvious connection to failed experiments overseas.

  4. Matthew Hatton
    2 November 2012 at 8:23 pm

    and how fucking disruptive will it be for the kids, how will they measure whether they work if they dont have to follow any curriculum, & will the govt have to ‘buy out’ those who ‘own’ the schools, who will surely decide the desicion is arbitrary & go to court to recoup potential lost earnings?

  5. KSJ
    3 November 2012 at 7:49 am

    Noel F :

    Karen – I couldn’t possibly comment .. an ass-covering cliche from former, less dynamic, times :-)

    ‘To play the King’ Noel ???

    • Noel F
      4 November 2012 at 11:12 am

      Karen – I never caught up with that – but we are very close to life imitating art – and not just TV either. From Greek onwards…

      • KSJ
        5 November 2012 at 8:55 pm

        Yes… the Western world and the fall of the Roman Empire 😉

  6. mcclairy
    3 November 2012 at 8:45 am

    “Show us the money dear leader”. Will these schools be given a separate budget to implement and run or will it be a case of using the present education budget ? Education is already strained through lack of resources so what will it mean for our public schools already stretched beyond acceptability. Parata’s mad scheme ideas to shut down schools in various areas plus increasing class sizes indicates no extra money for Charter schools just further eroding of a once proud, internationally recognized system of excellence. A Rogernomics ideology where laissez faire – rewarding the rich – has become a mantra, which must not, under any circumstances be challenged.

    • Clive @ large
      3 November 2012 at 10:26 am

      This is not surprising mcclairy. Going by Frank’s blogposts on National’s lies and secret agenda, they will do anything to carry out their policies. Even if it involves backroom dealings and dishonest tactics.

      I’ve been emailing links to Frank’s blogposts to all my friends, some of who voted for Key last year. Without exception they’s all disgusted with what they have been reading. National’s days are numbered.

    • 3 November 2012 at 11:20 am

      Mcclairy – is your teacher friend able to email me with details? You’re right, if that claim can be substantiated, it’ll be breaking news!

      My email address is here: https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/about-3/

    • mcclairy
      4 November 2012 at 12:19 pm

      I have just come across this on AlterNet

      The Right’s ‘School Choice’ Scheme


      US Centric but remember this is where Catherine Isaac is coming from. If you skim read there are words/ideas here that Isaac through Banks are using in promoting Charter Schools. It is their model for NZ.
      Some comments in the article are not appropriate to the NZ situation but you can work that out easily enough. The appropriate ones stand out.

  7. 3 November 2012 at 11:06 am

    From: Frank Macskasy
    Subject: Responses to National’s ill-conceived education “reforms”
    To: John Key “john.key@parliament.govt.nz”
    Hekia Parata “hekia.parata@parliament.govt.nz”
    John Banks “john.banks@parliament.govt.nz”
    Cc: Christopher Diack “Christopher.Diack@parliament.govt.nz”

    Kia ora Ms Parata, Mr Banks, and Mr Key,

    Re the issues of Charter schools and the closure of Christchurch’s McKenzie Residential School and Nelson’s Salisbury Residential School.

    I would welcome your responses to my blogposts,

    ‘National’s prioritises Education needs’

    ‘Charter Schools – John Key’s re-assurances’

    -Frank Macskasy

    I look forward to their response. (Not that I expect any.)

  8. Theodore
    4 November 2012 at 10:12 am

    Even right-wing nutcase Cameron Slater today condemned Parata as an incompetant Minister. The future of our kids, in the hands of a minister who hasn’t a clue what she’s doing. Frightening.

    The next election can’t come fast enough.

  9. Dv
    4 November 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Frank, what has happened to consultation with the major education groups (NZEI, PPTA, STA etc)that was set up after the class size debacle. The only thing I saw was a meeting that was held that PPTA and NZEI were not invited to.

    • 4 November 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Dv – nothing that I know of…

      National makes a ‘song and dance’ about “appropriate consultation” – but these are usually either fait accomplis, or not held at all.

  10. Noel F
    5 November 2012 at 8:59 pm

    KSJ :

    Yes… the Western world and the fall of the Roman Empire ;-)

    I hope not but sadly history does look like it is repeating itself.

  1. 25 February 2013 at 4:41 pm
  2. 8 September 2020 at 8:01 am

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