READER REPORT:

Chch: Govt destroying our communities

JANE OSBORN CATHRO
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
Christhchurch
Fairfax NZ
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I can cope with the earthquakes, the fear, the stress, the lost of power and contents, etc. Yes, life is different, harder, colder, poorer, and we wait and wait with no word on when or what they will do to repair TC3 homes.

But I can't cope with the steady stripping of resources from the east by local government. Why is QEII being demolished so money can be used to build a bigger aquatics facility in the central city while only a portion comes back in to the east to build a community pool? Our houses will be fixed and put back to the state they were in before the quakes, so how come Centennial Pool has now become an aquatics facility?

AMI Stadium has sprouted a cover. The Town Hall is bigger and better. We, the ratepayers for whom the Christchurch City Council (CCC) works, just sit back and let them play in the big sandpit within the four avenues.

But greater Christchurch is where the ratepayers live, but if this keeps up, leaving is looking better and better all the time. It's time to extend your focus and your efforts CCC.

Now the Government is gutting our community by closing Freeville School. They call it a merger, but in truth it's the killing of our school.

The Government has not been honest and is still not giving us the information we are entitled to to help us make or come to terms with the decision. It seems backwards to close a consistently high performing school that has a new million-dollar learning studio, is fully networked and has, up until now, had a stable roll despite the exodus of families in the red zone.

Freeville already educates for the future, and has for years been a model school, showcasing the future of education for other teachers, schools and education professionals. I fail to see how taking us out of our purpose-designed and operated school, and merging us with another school with completely different teaching practices and old classrooms will be better for my children's education.

The Government suggests that bigger schools will be better resourced - of course they will but the resources have to be shared out with a bigger number of staff and students.

Plus, the Government's decree that schools on the list can only appoint new staff on short or fixed-term contracts, many of our teachers will lose out on jobs and only the full or permanent staff will be assured of a job.

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The shortened time frame for implementation means the Government didn't listen to our plea to wait for better population data or for our currently more transient citizens to be more settled, once people's housed are fixed. All the Government heard was that once our houses are fixed, we will have more control over our own futures and be free to make some decisions about where we live. Thus, while the many that still live in the east are still waiting, trapped with few options in broken homes, the need for speed will ensure that this is done to us while our attention and energies are divided on multiple issues.

It seems like we have no power and no say.

The short brutal time frame, the lack of information, and the joke of a consultation process all serve to drive through the government's plan to close the small schools and increase class sizes. They know that divided, decimated, disempowered communities pose no threat to government bureaucracy.

And yet is it not a parental right to be able to choose the kind of education for one's own children?

Apparently not when you are one of the many less than 1 per cent affected of the city's school population.

These are our children's lives and futures that the government is playing with.

Does the Government work for their own benefits and wellbeing, or that of the people? Should the Government not be accountable for its actions and errors?

Should the Government have to prove its data and rationale before committing a considerable amount of taxpayer money to what could be less quality education than our children now enjoy?

Basically, the Government has screwed my family's life way worse then the earthquakes ever did. 

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