“The ACT Party is calling on teachers and Ministry of Education staff who feel uncomfortable being forced into Critical Race Theory training to reject it,” says ACT’s Education spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“ACT revealed yesterday that more than half of Education Ministry staff have been through a course called ‘Courageous Conversations about Race.’ The course teaches them that “guilt and shame” are natural responses to “white privilege.”

“The American program has been reported as requiring people to stand up and list their privilege. It sounds like something Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung would require. People must acknowledge they are bad and commit to a new mantra. They should be able to reject it without consequence.

“We’ve also heard of school children who have been asked to acknowledge their ‘white privilege’ in the classroom.

“All New Zealanders should be treated equally, not divided against each other based on who their grandparents were.

“The New Zealand Bill of Rights says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and to hold opinions without interference.”

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins needs to show leadership and tell the civil service whether these ‘courageous conversation’ re-education boot camps are mandatory, or optional.

“I was a teacher for 22-years and I know the pressure teachers can face.

“If they’re optional, he should make it clear that civil servants should not face any repercussions for refusing to feel ‘shame and guilt’ for things that other people of a different skin colour did in a different century before they were born.

"Who knows, once we have got past political re-education of civil servants and teachers, the Government could focus on getting kids to school and learning useful things. While the Government focuses on importing intellectual fads from America, student attendance and achievement in New Zealand is in free fall. Those declines can't be caused by racism, unless the Government believes racism has increased on its watch.

“ACT finds it abhorrent that kids may be treated differently by teachers because if their race. It’s time for the Minister to be clear about what the agenda is here.”