Politicians lobbied over bible class

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 05:00 01/06/2014

Relevant offers

Politics

Protesters at Parliament call for refugee quota increase Historical Abuse: MSD secrecy over historical abuse claims Below the beltway Syrian ex-asylum seekers in Wellington urge Government to up refugee quota New bill proposes 'fair go' for renewable energy producers Nick Smith pressures Nelson City Council to free up land for housing Bob Brockie memoir covers 63 years stirring the pot as a political cartoonist Cabinet goes 'paperless' with a $9.6 million online programme to read papers John Key shifts stance on refugees as hospitable Kiwis make a point New Zealand suspends aid to Nauru

Secular school campaigners are knocking on politicians' doors to lobby for a law change over religious lessons in school.

The latest effort to cut bible classes from school time follows a recent success for the group with the Human Rights Commission.

Secular Education Network spokesman David Hines said he had met with education spokespeople from the Greens, Mana Party and NZ First and was hoping to talk to Labour and National.

Although Education Minister Hekia Parata wasn't "bubbling with enthusiasm", her office has indicated she would agree to meet with him.

"We're not hopeful [for change], but I'll be surprised if they don't talk to us."

Although no political party is willing to make religious lessons a political issue for this year's election, he said the three political parties he spoke to are open to debating the cause.

However, Hines said no one knows exactly how the rules should be interpreted, so schools are operating off their own assumptions.

"There's no rhyme or reason to the rules. When we go to complain to ERO [Education Review Office] or the Ministry of Education, they say they have no guidelines."

A group of Auckland primary schools recently took their concerns about religious teaching to the Human Rights Commission.

The Secular Education Network celebrated the commission's decision in January, which made Auckland's St Heliers School halt half-hour bible classes during school time.

However, it was a bittersweet victory after the school restarted classes during the lunch break.

The apparent retreat came after the Churches Education Commission was unable to offer teachers outside school hours.

Hines said he was preparing to make a group complaint to the Human Rights Commission following a number of new complaints from parents concerned about bible lessons in class.

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content