Education Legislation Bill - First reading

Speeches
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

STUART SMITH: E Te Mana Whakawā Tuarua, tēnā koe. The Education Legislation Bill has clearly identified a philosophical divide across the House.

The absolute bottom line on this actually on this side of the House is that it is all about the students—quite a novel concept, with the students being the centre of education.

I congratulate the Minister of Education, the Hon Hekia Parata, on actually being bold enough to actually get in and put a bill forward that is going to make a big difference to education.

I have 54 schools in my electorate. It is really obvious when you get around a number of schools that there are some that do a better job than others and it comes down to the people at the top running the school.

To have a principal who is more than capable of running more than one school get out there and actually make a difference in students’ lives, if the community and the students and the parents in that community want that to happen—why would you not want that to happen? I cannot understand that. It is not about the kids, if that is what you are worried about.

Actually having flexibility in opening hours—it is all about education for the actual situation that you are talking about in that community. It is with that that I commend what is one of the better pieces of legislation I have seen in a long time come to this House. Thank you.