Greens promise to focus on poverty

By Mike Barrington

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Metiria Turei.
Metiria Turei.

The Green Party would invest $100 million developing schools as community hubs, party co-leader Metiria Turei said in Whangarei last week.

People skilled in overcoming problems of inequality and poverty would be employed to co-ordinate school social facilities and there would be a nurse on the school staff to care for every 400 students, she said.

Ms Turei, the Greens' spokeswoman on education and social equity, was in Northland with the party's associate education spokeswoman, Catherine Delahunty.

They were telling voters the Green education policy before the election in September which will see Kerikeri-based Green MP David Clendon as the party's candidate for Northland. Both women enthusiastically told the Advocate about their party's focus on nurturing youngsters from a young age with plans to build 20 more early childhood education centres around the country over the next three years. Free nutritious lunches for primary pupils, plus free music, dance and sport after school and holiday care programmes are also in the party's education package.

The pair visited Manaia View Primary school at Raumanga while in Whangarei and praised its digital suite and "positive environment" where youngsters are "confident, know they are smart and can learn."

Ms Turei said national standards were not a magic bullet. The Greens aim to remove the requirement for schools to measure students against them. The party also intends to triple te reo-speaking Maori teachers by 2020 and work toward te reo and tikanga Maori being taught in all schools. Improved Pasifika education is also on the Greens' agenda, along with creating fruit and vegetable gardens at schools.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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