“Labour’s handling of education is failing our kids, and as a result failing our future as a country,” said ACT’s Education Spokesperson Chris Baillie today. “Labour is letting down the people that most need our help.”

“The numbers are appalling.
- Attendance has been falling since 2015
- Barely half of New Zealand students attended school ‘regularly’ in Term 4 last year.
- Almost 9,000 children are ‘missing’ from the education system, a number that has almost doubled in the past year.

“Today we learnt that few of the over 2,000 children in alternative education – the system meant to catch those who aren’t succeeding in regular schooling – achieved NCEA level 2.

“As the Education Review Office said "Alternative Education is potentially a missed opportunity to change these young people's life trajectories. … The long-term costs for the young person, their family, and broader society are very significant."

“New Zealand can’t afford to keep missing these opportunities. In doing so, this government is ruining people’s lives, creating misery, and impoverishing us as a nation.

“What is particularly galling is the amount of money wasted by Labour which otherwise could have been spent on essential services like education. Just in the last 48 hours we’ve seen Labour waste $5 million on a ski-field ($2,500 per student in alternative education), $158 million on expired RATs and $128 million bailing out universities after destroying one of their most profitable income streams by locking international students out of the country.

“Every year Labour wastes $350 million on Fees Free for first year Uni students, rewarding the well off and successful – who can vote – at the expense of every other education sector.

“ACT will cut the waste and get kids back to school. We need real change and real solutions for our education system, so we can have better outcomes for New Zealand children.”

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