It was almost exactly a month ago that the Ministry of Education – at the behest of this shabby, poor-excuse-for-a-government, announced the closure and “merger” of several schools in Christchurch;
Acknowledgement: TV3 – Tears, shock as Chch school mergers announced
Phillipstown School was one of three schools chosen to “merge” with others – in effect another closure.
However, tonight (30 June), Phillipstown School will be following in the footsteps of Salisbury School (see previous blogpost: Why Salisbury School was right to be wary of this government) in refusing to take this threat to their existence lying down. In a press release today, Phillipstown School made it’s position crystal clear,
The Board of Phillipstown School will be filing judicial review proceedings in the Christchurch High Court on Monday. The School is seeking a declaration that the Minister of Education’s decision to close Phillipstown school and merge it with Woolston school from the beginning of 2014 is illegal and in breach of the Education Act 1989.
Acknowledgement: Scoop Media – Phillipstown School launches Judicial Review
As Board of Trustees Chairperson, Wayne West, said on Scoop Media,
“The Minister’s decision appears to be based on mistakes of fact. The statutory consultation required with the School and with the parents of students was also illegal because the officials refused to give us the information needed to respond to claims about the costs of remediating the earthquake damage at the school, and other property related issues. The Minister cited both of these as key reasons for her decision.”
As this blogger has pointed out previously, it seems to be the height of callousness and indifference to the stress and suffering of Christchurch people over the past two years. With two major earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks; damaged infra-structure; disrupted services; closed or struggling businesses; and the heart of the city all but destroyed – National Ministers seem content to add human-imposed misery upon Cantabrians.
This is the worst possible time to be “rationalising” any public service in that city.
I believe that National will suffer badly in the next election if they persevere with their appallingly-concocted plans.
This blogger supports schools in Christchurch; the staff; the parents, and children, to help preserve their already stressed communities. They deserve support and assistance – not further under-mining of public services.
I hope their request for a Judicial Review is successful.
And I hope that National MPs in the Canterbury electorates receive the full opprobrium of voters, at the next election, for their shameful conduct. Perhaps it is time for Cantabrians to send a “seismic political shock” to this government?
Good luck, Phillipstown School!
Previous related blogposts
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– Citizen A –
– 27 June 2013 –
– Julie Fairey & Keith Locke –
This week on Citizen A host Martyn Bradbury, Julie Fairey & Keith Locke debate the following issues:
Issue 1: Poll Dive for David Shearer. Does this latest Herald Digi-Poll scare Labour’s caucus into reconsidering Shearer as leader?
Issue 2: Would a NZ First backed GCSB bill be the worst outcome for New Zealand?
Issue 3: And what did Auckland mayor Len Brown give away to get the support of this National-led Government?
Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)
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The Green Party is considering further action on the problematic issue of deep-sea drilling of our coasts. Environmental spokesperson on Mining and Toxics, Gareth Hughes writes,
The Government is currently taking bids from oil companies to explore 189,000 square kilometres of our coastal waters.
The Government should know that Kiwis don’t want their beaches threatened by the risks of oil drilling, so we’ve set up a competing bid, the Kiwibid to allow Kiwis to voice their opposition to these plans.
If you’re ready to take action on deep sea oil drilling, join me for a live online Q and A session about what’s happening and how you can help. Join the Q and A session to discuss ways to encourage New Zealanders to sign up to the Kiwibid, and find out other ways we can work together to stop oil drilling.
When: Next Wednesday, 26 June at 8:00pm
Where: At your computer, live and online
Watch the livestream online: Here
If you have questions about deep sea oil drilling and how you can help, I would love to hear them.
Email me your questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) then tune in to see the answers.
Thanks, and I hope you can join me next Wednesday.
Deep sea drilling is an issue – and potential crisis – that I believe has not yet filtered into the public consciousness (too much bloody X Factor, Seven Sharp, and cooking porn on TV). Should a worst case scenario come to pass, our coastline could end up facing a crisis surpassing that of the Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010.
Consider for a moment that it took the most technologically advanced nation on this planet; with almost unlimited resources and wealth; nearly three months to cap the oil gush.
This was my suggestion to the Green Party on this problematic issue,
Like many New Zealanders, I’ve taken the stranding of the m.v. Rena on 11 October 2011, and the subsequent oil spill, as a clear warning that New Zealand is incapable of containing such a disaster. Regardless of the mealy-mouthed reassurances by National ministers (none of whom have soiled their own hands to help clean the East Coast beaches of Rena’s oil), it’s fairly evident that if we couldn’t cope with the Rena – then a Deepwater Horizon type disaster would be utterly beyond our resources.
An oil spill of Deepwater Horizon proportions – which took the Americans EIGHTYSEVEN days to contain – would be an immense enviromental disaster of our coast.
So how to prevent National from implementing it’s policy of permitting deep sea drilling/prospecting?
1. Put all oil companies on notice that any contracts will be cancelled by an incoming Labour-Green-Mana government and that there will be no compensation.
This gives them fair warning of potential change of government policy.
After all, if National can change legislation such as labour laws, which previous governments have implemented, then a progressive government has the same sovereign right.
2. Set up a Crown-owned entity which will have all off-shore leases transferred into their ownership. This crown company should be independent; funded through the Remuneration Authority (so that political interference can’t choke of funding for company directors); and a contract made between Government and this Crown company to hold all leases in perpetuity. The Board of Directors should comprise of Iwi, environmental groups, local bodies, and representatives of other groups. If National can attempt to commit future governments to a contract with Skycity to build a new conference centre, then a center-left government should be able to do likewise.
If Option 2 is unworkable, then option 3,
3. Demand a US$1 billion bond per oil drilling facility; demand that each company commit to long-term corporate-entity representation in New Zealand (so legal papers can be served locally, if necessary); demand that all disputes be covered under NZ jurisdiction; demand that fully staffed, state-of-the-art oil containment technology be held in each distinct area where deep sea drilling is being undertaken. And any other safety, legal, financial matters not covered here.
4. Hold accountable every Minister of the Crown who signs a deep-water oil drilling consent. Accountability to include being charged with negligence, malfeasance, and contributing to any resulting oil spill. Prison terms to be considered.
Option 4 is particularly relevant. Considering that the Pike River Mine disaster was a direct consequence of National’s “reforms” to the Mines Inspectorate in the early 1990s; and considering that none of the Ministers responsible were ever help accountable (Kate Wilkinson’s token resignation being only a sacrificial goat); and considering that 29 men lost their lives as a result of National’s policies, it is evident that government ministers need to be held to account for their actions .
I especially have a fondness for Option 4: Hold accountable every Minister of the Crown who signs a deep-water oil drilling consent… Prison terms to be considered.
It is high time that government ministers who enact legislation that eventuate in dire consequences, should be help to account.
If government Ministers were held personally responsible it might slow down the process of so-called “reforms” and reduce Bills passed under “Urgency”.
After all, National demands the same responsibility from the rest of us.
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 23 June 2013.
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– Focus on Politics –
– Friday 28 June 2013 –
– Brent Edwards –
Starting today, as with Citizen A, this blog will be posting regular links to Radio NZ’s Politics on Nine to Noon and Focus on on Politics. This will give visitors to this blog access to three excellent political programmes on one website. Click on the “Broadcast” category at the top navigation bar for past programmes.
Click to Listen: Focus on Politics for 28 June 2013 ( 17′ 31″ )
A weekly analysis of significant political issues. A week after submissions closed on the Government’s new spy legislation there are doubts about whether it has enough support to get it through Parliament.
“… and by the way, very senior Labour members within that caucus understand completely the importance of national security and of keeping New Zealanders safe. And the very question they might have to ask themselves if one day there was the equivalent of the Boston Bombings in New Zealand would they be the very same Members that would stand up and say they prevented New Zealanders being kept safer than they otherwise could be. No they wouldn’t, they’d run for the hills.”
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