The voting is over, the preliminary results are in, and New Zealand First are calling the shots.
Winston Peters’ coalition decision will decide who is in government, but he is such an enigma that it’s impossible to know what he will do. Will he go right with National, or will he go left with Labour and the Greens – we really don’t know.
However, for education, the two possible outcomes stand in stark contrast.
Scenario A: NZ First and National
NZ First and National have incredibly different visions for education:
- NZ First want to restore the requirement for all ECE providers to ensure that the 100% registered teacher staffing ratio is achieved. National removed that provision.
- NZ First want to replace National Standards at Years 1 to 8, with children’s progress and achievement being assessed against level bands within the New Zealand Curriculum. In contrast, National want to further embed National Standards via ‘National Standards Plus’.
- NZ First want to repeal the amendments to the Education Act 1989 that allowed the creation of charter schools. National want to expand the charter school experiment.
- NZ First want to work with the sector to provide for professional development and re-establish the curriculum and school support advisors that National got rid of.
- NZ First want to ensure the education sector can elect its own representatives to sit on the Education Council. National took this right away from teachers.
NZ First and National are just not in agreement on the future of our education system, and with an NZ First/National government, it would be an uphill battle for NZ First to effect any changes to National’s plans.
Scenario B: NZ First, Labour and the Greens
In stark contrast, there is enormous agreement on what is needed in education between NZ First, Labour and the Greens:
- All three parties want to restore 100% trained Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers and promise to restore funding to support that.
- All three parties want to get rid of National Standards.
- All three parties want to increase funding and support for teachers’ professional development.
- All three parties want to repeal charter school legislation.
- All three parties want teachers to have the right to elect their own representatives to the Education Council.
All three also want an inclusive model that properly supports children with Special Educational Needs, and all three want adequate funding for support staff.
Clearly, NZ First, Labour and the Green Party are on the same page when it comes to education.
Use your teacher voice
If your vision for the NZ education system aligns with NZ First, Labour and the Green Party, you might want to ‘cast your vote’ one more time and email Winston Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask him to put education at the forefront of his decision. With Tracey Martin and Chris Hipkins together, education would be in safe hands.
~ Dianne Khan