“The Minister for Child Poverty Reduction is letting Māori and Pacific children down according to new school attendance rates,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“A report released today by the Government ‘Child Poverty Related Indicators’ shows that the school attendance rates of Māori and Pacific children have taken a huge hit and haven’t recovered like other ethnicities.

“The report finds that Māori and Pacific children have lower than average regular attendance. In 2020, 48 percent of Māori children and 51 percent of Pacific children aged 6-16 attended school regularly, compared with an average across all students of 65 percent.

“Jacinda Ardern is the Minister in charge of Child Poverty Reduction. She needs to answer how anything the Government is proposing will work if you can’t go to school and learn?

“ACT introduced Charter Schools, these schools were helping the very children who are worse off under her Government. But she heartlessly scrapped our initiative in favour of helping her union mates.

“Charter Schools were closed down one day and reopened the next with two changes. They no longer had contracts dependent on achievement and attendance but they DID have to employ teachers on union contracts.

“While the Government focusses on a confused agenda of constitutional change, how about we focus on the outcomes of the kids, like getting them to go to school.”