Guest Post: Labour Government Failures – Education

A guest post by Alwyn Poole:

Under Minister of Hipkins – the Ministry of Education’s mission statement – on all of their official correspondence states:

“We shape an system that delivers equitable and excellent outcomes.”

Even though they never ask the sector to their work we can judge them by that statement. The evidence below makes a nonsense of it – the absolute opposite is the case – and this bureaucracy, that costs the taxpayer $3 billion per annum, with 3,000 employees, and a CEO on $528,000 is New Zealand’s biggest swamp and should be massively defunded. They are not effective or accountable and the annual and funds should be redistributed to where they would actually be of use. The first three years of Hipkins in this role (along with his three other major portfolios/roles) is a disaster – especially for Labour’s long-term core constituents – the poor, Maori, Pasifika.

Statistics and information – on equitable and excellent.

In 2017 the Level 1 NCEA pass rate was 75%. In 2019 it was 70.6% and Radio NZ is already stating that reported NCEA credits are 20% down on the same stage last year.


University Entrance, our highest and key school qualification has 2019 Year 13 pass rates of 59.3% for Asians, 55.1% for Europeans, 29.9% for Maori and 30.3% for Pasifika. Although this is incredibly poor it is also a misleading statistic in that it only includes those that have survived to Year 13 and a higher proportion of Maori and leave earlier.

So – the school leaver 2019 statistic for UE are Asian 63.8%, European 43.8%, 22.8%, Maori 18.6%.

Even looking at a qualitative measure such as the percentage of Level 1 Excellence endorsements; 32% of Asian students earn them, 21.3% of European students, 9.6% of Maori and 6.7% of Pasifika.


For University Entrance; students in Decile 8 – 10 schools – 65.4%, students in Decile 4 – 7 schools 46.6%, students in Decile 1 – 3 schools 29.8%.

For L1 Excellence endorsements by Decile band. 8 – 10 – 28.3%, Decile 4 – 7 – 16.4%, Decile 1 – 3 – 8.9%.

From 2017 to 2018 L2 NCEA results declined for every decile band but the Decile 1 – 3 families were rewarded for their Labour loyalty by the biggest decline.


In 2019 L1 NCEA results girls were ahead of boys by 8.4%. In L1 Excellence endorsements. 25.6% of girls earned these but only 13.7% of boys.

In 2019 girls outscored boys in UE attainment by 13.6%.

Learning Needs

It is estimated that 30 – 50% of NZ students at the tail end of poor literacy and numeracy are dyslexic. Very little has changed for them. Hipkins and Ardern promised Designated Character Schools to help and have failed to deliver. This government has spent $12 million on the Green School, $10 million on a re-build for a school with four students, $50 million to de-carbon heating systems, at least $50 million randomly thrown at laptops and modems in lockdowns, watched a $3 million gym in perfect condition in Christchurch be vandalized into oblivion. Each is a metonym for their complete pet project mentality while high needs students are ignored.

These are massive failures that should have Hipkins, and people like the Labour Maori candidate campaign manager Willie Jackson, simply hanging their heads.

Not only do the Ministry not preside over an “equitable and excellent system”. They feather their own pockets and have contractual clauses completely denied to schools – especially lower ones.

– the Ministry is allowed to pay its bureaucrats 10% above scale for either attraction or retention.

– for officials “on call” they receive $360 per week extra.

– if officials are “called out” (and the task is often done from home) they are paid a minimum of 3 hours at 1.5 times their normal rate – even if the task takes 5 minutes.

– they define their work-day as 8am to 5pm. Any work beyond this is paid overtime.

Their agreement does say: “employees are rewarded fairly for their contribution towards the Ministry’s objectives”. Judging by the above statistics and information on the NZ system there are a lot of salary cuts coming.

If Labour are returned Hipkins should by no means have Education.

Defund the Ministry of Education – for the good of NZ’s children.

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