Shearer shares education fears

03:45, Nov 02 2012
David Shearer
About fairness: Labour Party leader David Shearer speaks at a Marlborough Grey Power meeting in Blenheim yesterday afternoon.

Visiting the Bohally Intermediate School technology centre in Blenheim yesterday impressed Labour leader David Shearer.

He said it brought home to him why so many parents, grandparents and teachers were concerned about the Government's plans for education.

The school was great and the technology centre was the best he'd seen. Marlborough was lucky to have it.

David Shearer
Master chefs: Labour leader David Shearer discusses cooking tips with Havelock School pupils Eltre Oaariki, left, and Rosanna Buchanan at the Bohally Intermediate School Technology Centre in Blenheim yesterday.

All the changes the Government was proposing for the education system - ranging from charter schools, increasing class sizes and closing schools - just worked against improving the system, he said.

"There's a real worry within the education area in New Zealand and spreading to parents that our Government is undermining our great education system," Mr Shearer said.

"Nothing I've seen them do yet is positive, it's all negative."


That was demonstrated again this week with the Government closing two special schools, including Salisbury School in Nelson, he said.

"That just puts more pressure on classroom teachers who are going to have kids taking up more of their time, away from every other kid in the class. It's just nonsensical for the small amount of money you're going to save."

Grey Power members were interested in the same things, he said.

They focused on education and providing young people with jobs.

"Too many have lost children and grandchildren offshore," he said.

"Well, we all have Skype now, but Skype can't give you a hug."

He also touched on superannuation.

"It's about fairness, so young people coming forward have the same opportunities to access health and education as we did.

"If we don't address our ageing population and superannuation, we simply won't have enough money for health and education for our young people."

At the same time, the system had to be fair to make sure manual workers, who often couldn't remain in employment long, were looked after, he said.

"We're looking at ways of making it fair for everybody," Mr Shearer said.

Mr Shearer was in Blenheim yesterday for a series of meetings and also spoke at a Grey Power meeting.

The Marlborough Express