11 January 2013
PPTA president-elect Angela Roberts says it is “rankly hypocritical” of John Banks to be encouraging people to make submissions on the legislation setting up charter schools when he has deliberately excluded the public from the process up till now.
In a move that is clearly nothing but a cynical ploy, Banks sent out a new year reminder in which he “warmly encouraged” people to make a submission on the Education Amendment Bill (2012), Roberts said.
This contrasts with information PPTA has obtained under the Official Information Act which clearly shows the plan was always to ensure consultation with the public was minimal.
Banks describes making a submission as “the one time individual members of the public and organisations are invited to participate in the law making process” - yet PPTA was aware the consultation period was deliberately chosen because most New Zealanders would be on holiday, Roberts said.
Because of this PPTA is launching a campaign to alert the public to the January 24 deadline and to encourage people to make submissions.
Advertisements will be appearing in newspapers throughout the country from Sunday.
“If Banks is genuine about the importance of the public voice then he should extend the deadline for submissions to allow real consultation to occur,” Roberts said.
The proposed bill shows that charter schools will have little transparency and no accountability for the spending of public money, she said.
“Their annual accounts won’t be scrutinised by the auditor general, the Official Information Act won’t apply and the ombudsman will have no power to investigate. If the majority of submissions oppose this lack of transparency, will Banks listen and make changes?”
Roberts challenged Banks to prove he was genuine about consultation by moving the deadline out.