Friday, May 17, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 17/5/24

Seymour appeals to PPTA to call off meetings on charter schools – but does he seriously believe he can mollify their taniwha?

Associate Education Minister David Seymour is urging the PostPrimary Teachers Association to put learning ahead of ideology.

He wants the union leaders to call off their teachers meetings around the country where they hope to muster the strength to undo the government’s plans to establish several charter schools.

Good luck with that. The PPTA is unabashedly committed to promoting public education, which means it is committed to impeding anything that might foster private education.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is bound to be no more successful with his pleading for all sides in the political rumpus in New Caledonia to restore calm.

New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, he says (with good cause).

“The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region.”

But he probably will be heeded only by the New Zealanders in New Caledonia who are being advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations, and to limit their movements wherever possible.

The appeals from the ACT and New Zealand First leaders are among the latest press statements posted on the government’s official website.

They are accompanied by news of the government finding $63.4 million in Budget 2024 for lifeguards and the coastguard and of ministers making some job appointments.

Latest from the Beehive

17 MAY 2024

Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired.

Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning,

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister

16 MAY 2024

New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.

New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.

David Seymour has cause to be aggrieved. The PPTA has organised many meetings of teachers around the country between 13 and 24 May because it is ideologically antsy about charter schools.

“The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the country over the next two weeks by holding 38 lengthy meetings with teachers so they can push out misinformation about charter schools,” says Mr Seymour.  

But whoa. Can he be sure the meetings will be lengthy?

Maybe they won’t be – but the PPTA website says:

The time allowed for the paid union meeting is up to two hours, but they should last only as long as required to complete the business of the meeting.

On the other hand, we must wonder about the influence of mythology on the PPTA. It is advising members that the paid union meetings “set the scene for our collective agreement negotiations next year and send an important signal to the public and to government that a taniwha is stirring.”


Seymour certainly has a point when he says we have a crisis in this country with school attendance and achievement

“The Government is focussed on increasing student attendance, ensuring students get qualifications that will set them up for life, and providing choice to students, parents and educators. Meanwhile the PPTA is disrupting secondary students’ educations to oppose a policy which will improve educational outcomes and is funded to apply to about 2 per cent of schools.

“It is estimated this distraction from the PPTA will cost around $4.8 million in lost education time alone, the equivalent of funding around 80 teacher aides for one year.”

Seymour also gives credence to his accusation that teachers will be misinformed by the union.

For example, the PPTA claims that charter schools have failed overseas. But Seymour counters:

“The evidence shows the opposite. A 2023 study by the Centre for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University found charter schools produced positive learning outcomes for students when compared to public schools, and that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds experience greater outcomes.  ”  

The PPTA says the Government will fund charter school students more than state school students.

Wrong again, Seymour insists: the Government is committed to funding charter schools at the same rate as state schools.

“The PPTA should just be honest. Their opposition to charter schools is because of fear they will lose their membership fees and their grip on the sector. Charter schools will not be state schools and therefore will not be bound by current union contracts. I say to them it’s time they put the students at the heart of education.”

Seymour’s statement provides a link to more information on charter schools : Charter schools | Kura hourua – Education in New Zealand

The PPTA’s contrary position is set out here:

Let’s note the union’s ideological stance:
  • We are the kaitiaki | guardians of public education
  • We have a long standing opposition to privatisation and neo-liberal reform agenda
  • We are member driven, with robust democratic structures.
Member driven, not student driven.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters – in his statement – says.

“The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the situation, so that there can be dialogue and calm.

“No matter your views on the political arrangements in New Caledonia, everyone should agree that violence is harmful to every community there.

“New Zealand, as a neighbour of New Caledonia and fellow member of the Pacific Islands Forum, has a strong interest in the peaceful resolution of the situation there. France and New Zealand are close partners in the Pacific. We are urging all sides to engage in constructive dialogue.”

Peters says New Zealand is in close contact with local authorities in Nouméa and Paris and partners such as Australia and Japan, so as to keep abreast of developments and provide the best possible consular assistance to New Zealanders in New Caledonia.

He emphasised the importance of the safety of New Zealanders in New Caledonia.

“New Zealanders in New Caledonia are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations. Local authorities have recommended that individuals stay in place and limit their movements wherever possible.

“We recommend that all travellers check with their airline for any updates on flight bookings. Travellers should also contact their travel insurance provider if travel has been disrupted.”

They won’t be coming home in a hurry. The airport has been closed.

Five people have been killed in the rioting.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton


EP said...

How shameful that these inadequate people think that they could - or should - have the right to dictate all of the schooling in this country. It is not their fault that their preparation to teach has been so inadequate, but our children deserve better.

Anonymous said...

Another instance of a group intending to secure control and power.

Nothing to do with ensuring quality Education for young NZers.

NZ is now a rotten society.