Manurewa High School has sent a lawyer's letter to a local shop owner warning that it will seek a High Court injunction if necessary to stop the shop selling the school's uniform. Manurewa High has given exclusive rights to another supplier in return for its sponsorship of a programme for disadvantaged children.
The aggrieved competitor, who has stocked the uniform for more than 50 years, says she can sell it for less than the preferred supplier and says she will go to court to fight "a standover tactic that is costing parents".
The law appears to be on the side of the school and so it should be. Schools ought to be able to supplement their public funding and fees. But they should be candid about what they are doing.
Principal Salvatore Gargiulo said incentives had nothing to do with the school board's decision. Price, he said, was the main consideration. If that was the case the school would have had no reason to enter an exclusive dealing arrangement. Parents would have quickly found the best price by shopping around.
There is no doubt they are paying a premium to an exclusive uniform supplier and they know it. To tell them otherwise is an insult to their intelligence. Schools need to let parents know that their uniform purchase is helping the school and, more important, let them see the benefit.