“There’s yet another fight brewing inside the Labour Party, with Chris Hipkins refusing to rule out the Māori Caucus’ aspiration for a separate Māori education system”, says ACT’s Education spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Labour’s obsession with imposing an ethnic and Treaty lens on everything has set it on a path towards co-government in education.

“An August 2022 briefing leaked to ACT shows the Government is considering the creation of an ‘independent statutory entity to lead and steward the Māori Medium Education and Kaupapa Māori Education System’ alongside the Ministry of Education.

“Today in Parliament, Hipkins refused to explicitly rule out a separate Māori education system. He clearly doesn’t want it, but he’s keeping his options open because the powerful Māori Caucus aspires to a separate body.

“A separate Māori education system would be divisive and there’s no evidence that it would produce better outcomes for students.

“ACT has shown what works in education: devolving decisions to parents and communities through Partnership Schools.

“An independent report by MartinJenkins on Partnership Schools showed student engagement was significantly improved, there were fewer stand-downs and suspensions, students gave positive feedback, families felt more involved, and very few students opted out.

“If the Government wishes to give Māori a greater say over the education of Māori students, it should use an established and successful idea that was supported by the Iwi Chairs Forum – Partnership Schools.”

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Chris Baillie