PPTA wrong

Amelia Wade in the Herald reports:

A teachers’ union is criticising the Government for holding the consultation period for charter schools during New Zealanders’ holidays.

The New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) yesterday launched a campaign to raise awareness about the January 24 deadline for submissions on the Education Amendment Bill 2012.

A full-page advertisement in the Herald on Sunday and in today’s Herald said the Government had “its own agenda – the dismantling of New Zealand’s public education system by introducing charter schools”.

It also implied the Government had purposefully chosen a closing date for submissions on the bill when most people were still on holiday.

First of all the Government doesn’t decide when submissions are due, the select committee does. Now if the Government has a majority on a select committee, of course they can effectively set the date.  But they do not have a majority on Education & Science. The breakdown is National 5, Labour 3, Greens 1, NZ First 1. This means that at least one opposition MP (or all of them) agreed to the dates.

Secondly most bills have around a six week period for submissions to be made. This bill has in fact had a three month submission window which is one of the longest I know of for a bill. Even taking into account the Xmas slowdown, it is a lengthy period of time. The bill was referred to select committee on Thu 18 October and submissions opened on Wed 24 October.

Also the consultation does not close on 24 January. That is merely the deadline for written submissions, and then you have the oral submissions. There is a full six month window for the select committee consultation and deliberations.

It is a pity the Herald has just repeated the spin from the PPTA and not bothered to check the facts such as the three month submission period and that the Government doesn’t have a majority on the select committee that set the date. These are both highly relevant facts to the story, and are on the parliamentary website.

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