Crowds turn up for schools rally
Sat, 22 Sep 2012 1:49p.m.
More than 1000 people have turned out for a lunchtime rally protesting against a shake-up of Christchurch schools.
The crowd of around 1500 people, including many children and teachers, waved placards in calm sunny weather at the Hagley netball courts.
Some of the signs said "Save our schools", along with "Democracy hard won, defend it" and "What the Hekia are you getting at", in reference to Education Minister Hekia Parata.
The Government last week announced a proposal to close 13 schools and merge 18 others as part of a $1 billion rebuild and realignment of education in the earthquake-damaged city.
A further 173 are being repaired and some schools, including Shirley Boys' High, have been given several options, which depend on geotechnical reports of their land.
One of the speakers at the rally, Manning Intermediate principal Richard Chambers, told the crowd "the way things have been proposed to us make having discussions extremely difficult".
"Change will happen but let us be part of it. The changes proposed could be a blight on Christchurch for generations."
The rally follows a similar protest on Wednesday night, when around 500 people gathered at the Bridge of Remembrance protesting against a lack of democracy in their city's decision-making.
The Hagley Park protest was organised by former Phillipstown School board of trustees member Wayne Hawker.
Phillipstown has been mooted to merge with Woolston School on an unknown site.
"If people think that this will be the end of it, then think again," he said last week.
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23/09/2012 9:26:46 a.m.
@Nathan what utter rubbish
School changes are one thing... mass closures are utter stupidity.
The government has been looking for ways to save money on education... first they fought for higher class sizes... now they have seen an opportunity to force closures to layoff teachers and close down schools.
Christchurhs population will rapidly increase again after the rebuild starts... though with National thats probably still 30 years away from happening.
@Ruz, those people I know in Christchurch are extremely unhappy with Nationals Fascist totalitarian approach down in Christchurch.. I think Christchurch is going to be any color other than Blue floowing the next election.
22/09/2012 10:42:34 p.m.
"Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer." (Shunryu Suzuki)
Now is the time to make school changes in Christchurch. There is no bottomless pit of money to keep unsafe, over-resourced schools going.
22/09/2012 7:09:03 p.m.
Those in Christchurch who are strongly against the proposed school mergers should put their votes where there mouths are. After all the Government only holds the Christchurch Central electorate with a 47 vote majority.
22/09/2012 6:05:22 p.m.
Stephen Berry wrote:
Opposition to changes in Christchurch schools is illogical and emotive. The earthquakes have changed the demographics of Christchurch. The provision of services prior to the earthquake cant just stay the same post-earthquake.
This Government is running record deficits and needs to spend money in the most efficient way possible. Providing schools for which there is no longer a demand is the last thing the Government should be doing.
22/09/2012 4:54:50 p.m.
Supporting you all the way from down here in Invercargill! Go guys, give 'em HELL.
22/09/2012 3:51:29 p.m.
The numbers were more like 3,500 not 1,000
22/09/2012 2:57:27 p.m.
What a disgusting thing to do. These people have been through enough already and now you will make it harder for them to get an education. ONG the cost that will incur on families who live further away, just to get kids to school. This is a part of their support network and the government is going to break it. Leave the schools alone, they have more than a monetary value, they have a real community value. The government is taking as much as they can from those of Chch. They have already paid the highest cost, including lives
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