“I welcome Minister of Education Hon Hekia Parata’s announcement of the second application round for Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua to open day one, term one, in 2015” ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“Partnership Schools are here to stay. They will be a permanent part of our education system.
“I don’t believe any future Government will abandon New Zealand’s world leading model, Mr Banks said.
“What Partnership Schools do is give educators greater flexibility in return of greater accountability for getting better results for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable students.
“What is not to like in that?
“These learners deserve to be a productive part of New Zealand’s future. I want them to know that we value them and their potential.
“They deserve the opportunity of a world class education. Partnership Schools help make that opportunity real for more of our young.
“I want parents to know that Partnership Schools offer them a greater choice to find the school best suited to the needs of their child.
“I am also confident that just as the first five partnership schools are attracting interest from dedicated, committed educators, the next five will too.
“To the PPTA and NZEI unions I say get over it and get on board if you really value education and talented educators,” Mr Banks said.
If the Government were to listen to the PPTA and the results of their clearly biased survey questions it would be the end of the PPTA and the education system in New Zealand.
The PPTA want to take ‘for profit’ organisations out of the New Zealand education system.
This would mean the immediate closure of more than 1900 Licenced Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres and would affect more than 80,000 children. The PPTA profits from education, so it is advocating against itself.
The PPTA wants everyone who is not fully registered with the New Zealand Teachers Council (NZTC) out of our education system.
If the Government were to listen and therefore exclude teachers who are newly-arrived from overseas or are otherwise not fully registered with the NZTC volunteers, support staff, private tutors, and informal tuition by hard working and dedicated parents, siblings and family friends, every education institution would immediately grind to a halt and most could not continue to exist. This too would result in an end to the PPTA.
The PPTA are against Partnership Schools because of the for-profit, teacher registration aspects of the policy, but these features are already part of the current education sector. Removing these features from education would have a detrimental impact on the sector as we know it and students would suffer.
The PPTA also likes to claim that the majority of submissions on the Education Amendment Bill were opposed to Partnership Schools. But, the vast majority of the submissions received by the Education and Science Select Committee received were 'form submissions' from the PPTA, NZEI and their Union affiliates. Excluding these left a balanced pool of properly considered submissions.
Partnership schools, known overseas as charter schools or free schools, are not an experiment. Evidence has shown that the best models of charter/free schools have been very successful in raising achievement for students from disadvantaged areas and those with English as a second language. They were first started 20 years ago in the United States by... you guessed it... the teachers unions.
The PPTA is clearly not much concerned about poor educational outcomes from failing public schools. It is not plausible that it is terrified that some partnership schools might fail; it is more plausible that it is terrified that greater parental choice might improve outcomes.
The PPTA survey can be found here
I rise on behalf of the ACT Party and the people of Epsom to support the Statement from the Prime Minister.
Over the summer break I have been out-and-about talking to New Zealanders - taking stock.
New Zealanders are working harder and longer for less.
What they want is the freedom to achieve though their own effort and enterprise.
They don’t want hand outs - most reject the entitlement society.
They back the Prime Minister. They rate John Key.
They don’t see Labour, the Greens and Winston First – the coalition of the Dispirited, the Deluded and the Bewildered - as an alternative Government.
They don’t see David Shearer as a Prime Minister, even less Russel Norman as Finance Minster.
I tell them that under MMP it could happen. They tell me to work hard to make sure it doesn’t.
I will be.
The ACT Party and the people of Epsom back John Key as Prime Minister. But we want him to do more to resist and roll back the entitlement society.
We want this Government to expand the freedom to achieve.
What Labour promises in hands-on-government is a government of hand outs - the sapping culture of entitlement.
In Labour’s world to get ahead is to put your hand in the pocket of the taxpayer.
It is not about the freedom to achieve through the enterprise of your efforts. It’s about taking from someone else’s hard work.
Young Aucklanders want to buy or build a home with a back yard. Yet the median house price in Auckland is now almost seven times the median household income.
Auckland is almost as unaffordable as London.
We know that housing unaffordability is complex. However the major culprit is central and local government – the RMA, metropolitan urban limits and building regulation.
What’s the Opposition response?
Labour promises to build government houses to fix a problem largely created by government. No word on where the money will come from to build ten thousand houses a year. Mr Shearer promised $300,000 dollar homes. Now he’s backtracked and said $300,000 is just the median value. In Auckland they will be chicken coops.
On Sunday, Mr Shearer told the country that he is going to hold a conference this year to work out his policy. That’s after he has announced it. Not good enough.
Labour have shown they are not serious. They have not uttered one word on RMA reform.
Here is my prediction; they will vote against every major RMA reform this year that will help young New Zealanders get their first home without a government handout.
Now the Greens won’t be outdone in the auction of make-believe money.
For them the Government will not only build the house but loan you the money to buy it. What they won’t say is how many houses or how much it will cost.
What we do know is that you can’t have a backyard for the kids to play in and the RMA can’t be touched.
After promising make believe houses with make-believe money, the next day the Greens attacked the dairy industry that helps New Zealand earn its way in the real world and pays the taxes they are so keen on spending.
For them wealth is created by the printing press - not by working hard, taking risks, selling things other people want and saving.
This year we need major RMA reform.
I have told the Government we have a one-in-twenty year chance to get it right and get it done.
We need to be bold. ACT will be helping.
In other areas, the Government is moving towards giving New Zealanders the freedom to achieve and away from the policies of handouts and the politics of entitlement that the Opposition are keen on.
ACT wants National to pick up the pace.
Here are three examples.
Partnership Schools are about the freedom to achieve for talented educators, dedicated parents, and for kids who need a break. It gives educators another option in our education system, a system that currently sees almost one in five students missing out.
We will have a Bill providing for regulatory standards around increased disclosure for Government Bills. This will help New Zealanders better gauge whether any reduction of their freedom is justified.
ACT’s Spending Cap will help New Zealanders better understand how much politicians spend and how good that spending is. Politicians will have to signal their spending plans in advance.
These initiatives and others will help get government off the backs and out of the pockets of New Zealanders.
ACT wants the Government to keep moving towards the freedom to achieve and away from the culture of entitlement that saps independence.
We reject Mr Shearer’s hands-on government of hand outs.
We know anything is possible however humble your origins, if you simply give New Zealanders the freedom to achieve.
ACT New Zealand Party President Chris Simmons and ACT MP Hon John Banks today announced the details of ACT’s Confidence and Supply Agreement, highlighting a number of very significant policy ‘wins’ for ACT.
Mr Simmons said the new agreement builds on the two parties’ strong, constructive partnership of the past three years and advances ACT’s core economic and social policy goals.
“In particular ACT wanted to see controls put in place to prevent excessive Government spending and poor quality regulation, improved choice in education, especially in disadvantaged communities, and reform of other key policy areas that are currently holding New Zealand’s economy back,” Mr Simmons said.
Hon John Banks said that the policy programme outlined in the agreement was an excellent platform for ACT in Parliament and a strong base from which to continue building the relationship between the two parties.
“It shows that National is willing to make changes in these key economic and social policy areas to ensure our joint aspirations for a more prosperous New Zealand are met,” Mr Banks said.
Key features of the agreement are:
• Continuation of ACT’s focus during the last term on publicly monitoring progress on improving the country’s economy wide performance using international benchmarks, and building on the work of the 2025 Taskforce, with a requirement for Treasury to report annually on the progress being made to improve the quality of institutions and policies, raise productivity, and reduce the income gap with Australia.
• Continuation of ACT’s work during the last term to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and individuals through taking the Regulatory Standards Bill through to the new Parliament, with an agreement to pass a mutually agreed Bill based on Treasury’s preferred option (option 5) within 12 months.
• Continuation of ACT’s work during the last term on the Spending Cap (People’s Veto) Bill with an agreement to incorporate a legislated spending cap through a mutually agreed amendment to the Public Finance Act.
• Reform of the Resource Management Act, including simplifying legislation to ensure there is only one plan (a “unitary” plan) for each district.
• The provision to set up a trial charter school system - under sections 155 (Kura Kaupapa Maori) and 156 (designated character schools) of the Education Act – for disadvantaged communities, specifically in areas such as South Auckland and parts of Christchurch where educational underachievement is most entrenched. A private sector-chaired implementation group will be established to develop the proposal for implementation in this parliamentary term.
• The establishment of a taskforce to produce a comprehensive report on governance issues relating to state policy towards state, integrated and independent schools.
• The implementation in this parliamentary term of the Welfare Working Group recommendations 27: Parenting obligations, 28: Support for at-risk families, 30: Income management and budgeting support, and 34: Employment services.
• To introduce competition to ACC’s Work Account.
• To support National’s Post-Election Action Plan.
• The appointment of Hon John Banks to the positions of Minister for Small Business, Minister for Regulatory Reform, Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Commerce.
Mr Banks said New Zealand is facing very challenging times.
“This agreement is a significant achievement for ACT, addressing not just economic issues but key social issues as well, in particular those that are currently contributing to our very high rates of unemployed, undereducated and socially marginalised young people.
“I intend over the next three years to advocate for further advances in these areas as well as in the areas of government spending and regulation, labour market reform, and other policies to reduce the burden on businesses and boost productivity and economic growth.
“I would like to thank former ACT MP and Parliamentary Leader John Boscawen for the lead work he has done over the past week to finalise the terms of the agreement. His advice and ACT Party experience has been invaluable and stands us in good stead to reinvigorate and strengthen the Party over the next three years.
“ACT looks forward to working with National, and Prime Minister John Key, to put in place policies to strengthen our country and put us on a path to prosperity,” Mr Banks concludes.
It's a great privilege to be the ACT candidate for Wellington Central. I want to thank you Heather for representing the ACT Party so ably in Wellington Central, and for maintaining such a successful local branch of the ACT Party.
Recently I spent a couple of hours at the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre. Music therapy is used to help many with intellectual and physical disabilities reach their potential, and it was exciting to see it in action.
Below is a piece from the Raukatauri Centre newsletter on my visit.
The New Zealand Educational Institute's (NZEI) claim that bulk-funding failed in New Zealand schools does not stack up with the evidence, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Sir Roger Douglas said today.
"Bulk-funding is very simple – schools are given a lump sum and then the Board of Trustees get to allocate it according to its needs. We already have bulk funding with operational grants to schools – my Bill would extend the same principle to staffing issues," Sir Roger said.
"In surveys undertaken for the Ministry of Education in the late 1990s, it was revealed that 94 percent of respondent schools felt that they had been mostly advantaged by bulk-funding, and 80 percent confirmed that their school would prefer to continue with bulk funding.
"Moreover, the idea that this would help high-decile schools is nonsense. The previous model of bulk funding was optional, and 36 percent of bulk funded schools came from those in low-decile areas - deciles 1 to 3. Why would so many low-decile schools opt in to the scheme if it harmed them?
"Over 80 percent of bulk-funded schools used the money to hire extra teaching staff. This shows that schools used the increased flexibility in order to increase teacher quantity and quality. Why should schools be prohibited from doing this?
"Far from being a bad chapter in education, school autonomy has increased around the world in the past 20 years – it is New Zealand's education system that has been moving in the wrong direction.
"Teachers' unions and interest groups should want good quality teachers to be well-remunerated. I am staggered by their belief that every area of school budgets – except teacher salaries – should be bulk-funded," Sir Roger said.
Labour MP Trevor Mallard's claim that teachers do have incentives to improve their performance because they can be promoted to a management role illustrates how ridiculous our education sector is, ACT New Zealand's Education Spokesman Sir Roger Douglas said today.
"It is absurd that the only way to pay good teachers more is to put them in a managerial role – seeing them spend more time out of the classroom in order to receive a higher wage," Sir Roger said.
"The reality is that the one of the only ways to attract the best teachers to a school is to offer them more money. Currently, the only way to offer them more money is to have them spend more time administering, rather than teaching. It's a national tragedy that our best teachers end up doing very little of it.
"Labour seem concerned that so-called 'rich' schools will poach the best teachers. However, low-decile schools are the ones that receive the most Government money, and yet they are prevented from spending the money on the one thing that will have the most impact – better teachers.
"My Bill will allow Boards of Trustees to control and manage all the Government money that they receive – and if they want to pay teachers more to attract better staff, they will be free to do so. We all want the best education for our children, and this atmosphere of incentive will drive teacher performance, improving the education that our children receive.
"If the Labour Party really cares about the children from low-income households – and not the Teachers' Unions – then they will support this Bill," Sir Roger said.