About half of those I asked said they voted yes, but every single one of them said they did that because they were told that it would be even worse if we didn’t or that they felt they had no choice. Not one could tell me a single good thing about JI and each one said they weren’t comfortable with it but felt pressured to vote yes.
Just think about that: I couldn’t find one person who said they felt it was going to be a good move and could say why.
I was told time and again that the Joint Initiative union meetings (PUMS) were the tensest people ever recalled having, and one group said they walked out of theirs in anger at what they felt was the union rep’s bullying of them to vote yes.
And I – someone who lives and breathes education policy – didn’t vote at all because the information we had to vote on was pathetic and I refuse to vote blind.
I guess the most telling thing in the end is that whist 78% of those WHO VOTED, voted yes, the turn out was a mere 40% of NZEI members. This means that only around 31% of NZEI members voted for JI, including all those who did so under pressure.
Hardly a mandate, is it?
So why are NZEI walking us into this? If there are good reasons then they have failed to convey them. If, as I suspect, it is being done because they fear there is no real choice and the Minister will force clusters of learning one way or another, then they need to be honest about that.
Because the other thing people keep reminding me is that NZEI members voted in huge numbers and with quite a determined voice to reject IES only months ago, and they are baffled why their union now appears to have rolled over.
NZEI, I love you for so many reasons, but on this one you have a lot of explaining to do.
~ Dianne Khan