Foss rejects kura questions

By staff reportersnews@hbtoday co nz

Craig Foss
Craig Foss

Tukituki MP Craig Foss has hit back at Hastings District Councillor Malcolm Dixon's demand for answers on a proposed kura kaupapa, calling it nothing more than grandstanding.

Mr Foss was responding to a letter to the editor Mr Dixon wrote in Hawke's Bay Today recently in the latest salvo in the ongoing saga of the new kura to be built in the Arataki subdivision in Havelock North.

The school will move to the Arataki area from its current Albert St, Hastings address.

The new building will allow the school to provide a kohanga reo, a primary school, intermediate, a high school, whare wananga, tertiary and a taikura education for the over 50s, with all subjects taught in te reo Maori.

Last week Mr Dixon penned a letter to the editor requesting "factual answers" from Mr Foss on two "rumours" he had heard.

Firstly, he wanted to know if state housing was to be built on nearby land, and, secondly, local iwi had now taken ownership of the kura site from the Ministry of Education who previously owned it.

In his letter the councillor asked Mr Foss whether the National Party took notice of public opinion and what they were prepared to do about the above situation.

However, Mr Foss hit back saying "asking such questions via a letter to the editor is just being provocative and grandstanding".

"I would have thought Mr Dixon, as a councillor, would have access to information about zoning, local infrastructure, population forecasts, planning and consent," he said.

Referring to past conversations about the issue the MP said: "As I have written in Hawke's Bay Today, there are quite a range of views about the kura, some think it's not an issue at all while others are adamantly opposed.

"I have and will continue to facilitate all views to both the Minister and Ministry of Education."

When asked if he had heard the same rumours as Mr Dixon, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated chairman, Ngahiwi Tomoana, said: "It's all news to me."

"I've never heard about that."

Mr Tomoana said people were "scaremongering" and ignoring the facts.

This is not the first letter penned by the councillor.

In November he wrote a letter to Prime Minister John Key raising concerns of some Arataki residents.

In the letter to Mr Key, Mr Dixon outlined that it was not the building of the location which he was against, but rather where the Ministry of Education had chosen to build it.

Construction of the new kura is expected to be completed in 2017.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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