Ripping the heart out of Christchurch communities by unnecessarily closing and merging schools is not the way to help these shattered communities rebuild, Green Party Co-leader and education spokesperson Metiria Turei said today.
"All schools in New Zealand will be nervous based on the inconsistent justifications Hekia Parata has used to close and merge Christchurch schools," Mrs Turei said.
"Hekia Parata should have listened to what schools had to say at the start, which would have prevented creating a lot of stress for children trying to get on with life in their shaken up communities.
"The Education Minister has mangled this process, pointlessly raising fears in communities that have retained their schools.
"Hekia Parata owes the children of Christchurch an apology.
"I feel deeply sad for the schools announced for merger and closure today. They are being singled out for no other reason than they had the bad luck to be hardest hit by the quakes.
"These schools are singled out because of the earthquakes but decisions are being based on factors like population. Hekia Parata is using the quakes as an excuse to close schools that she would never normally get away with.
"There are two classes of communities in Christchurch, those who missed the worst damage of the quake and those who have been through hell and for whom the upheaval never stops.
"I challenge the need for these closures and mergers at this time. Hekia Parata should have waited for proper census data before pushing ahead.
"School closures for so many Christchurch kids come as the National Government funds the failing Wanganui Collegiate for the upper class and it promotes more private charter schools.
"The children of Christchurch need a new Minister who will act in their interests and listen to and respect their communities," Mrs Turei said.