Applications for a charter school in Hawke's Bay are under way, according to ACT party leader David Seymour.

A number of people had told Hawke's Bay Today that they had heard a charter school was being planned for the region.

Mr Seymour, the Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education, said there would be a further three partnership schools in New Zealand announced, probably before the end of next month. These would open early 2017.

When asked if he knew of applications for a partnership school from people in Hawke's Bay, he said "absolutely".


If a charter school was proposed for the region Mr Seymour said it would be because the community wanted it.

"The reality is that partnership schools are not placed by the Government in a community, they only get established if people from the community go through what is a pretty rigorous process," he said.

This involved a hundred-page application form, being interviewed, and having the partnership school authorisation board visit the intended premises.

If approved, operators would then have to meet certain standards for student engagement and achievement.

Charter schools are privately run, publicly funded and set their own curriculum, school hours, holidays and pay rates.

In a statement, Minister for Education Hekia Parata said, "partnership schools are providing parents with greater choice and showing signs of delivering improved education outcomes for high priority students.

"An announcement will be made in the coming weeks regarding the successful applicants of the third round of partnership schools."

However, Ms Parata did not mention which regions the announcement would affect.

She was in Hawke's Bay this week but a spokeswoman said this had nothing to do with partnership schools.

Tukituki Labour candidate Anna Lorck has been asking Tukituki MP Craig Foss to admit he had been "working behind the scenes" to create Hastings' first charter school.

Mr Seymour said Ms Lorck had a couple of "fundamental misunderstandings" on how the policy around partnership schools worked. This was "mis-informing people", as it was "very much a ground-up rather than top-down" policy.

If a school were to open, Mr Seymour said it would happen because the people in Ms Lorck's community had asked for it, and would want to send their children there.

"If she wants to represent the community she might want to think about that a little bit, instead of this frankly bizarre scaremongering starring Craig Foss as James Bond on operations for myself and [Ms Parata]," he said.

Ms Lorck said she was happy to be a detective for Hawke's Bay, working on the front line to protect public education.

"This is a serious investigation and people deserve open transparency. Backdoor political deals should not be part of Hawke's Bay's education landscape," she said.