Education protest draws 2000 marchers

By Russell Blackstock, Newstalk ZB

Marchers gather in downtown Auckland to protest against charter schools. Photo / Doug Sherring
Marchers gather in downtown Auckland to protest against charter schools. Photo / Doug Sherring

An estimated 2000 people marched in downtown Auckland today in protest at education reforms that have led to charter schools.

Banner waving teachers and supporters gathered outside the shopping mall at Elizabeth Square before heading up Queen St for a midday rally at Aotea Square.

Protesters were carrying a number of signs including 'pay my mum' and 'teachers taught you to read this sign'.

Vice president of the New Zealand Education Institute Frances Guy said the protest showed how strongly people feel about education.

"This is not just teachers standing up for their profession, it's communities standing up for their local schools and saying 'we love our local schools' and we want that to be what the priority is for this Government."

The protest was part of a nationwide series of simultaneous marches in Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin as an estimated total of 8000 people marched across the country.

Teachers, parents and students also took to the streets in smaller centres up and down the country. They were protesting against Novopay, charter schools, national standards and other education issues.

"We were very happy it wasn't just union members that took part and a lot of people from communities were there too," said NZEI spokesman Chris Walker.

"There was a huge energy and universal support for the view that the Government has messed things up."

- Herald on Sunday

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