It will be better for rural communities if people take part in consultation around education writes Federated Farmers rural education spokesperson Andrew Maclean.

We live in a country built on the bones of the hard work of the primary industries and rural communities.

We've experienced a massive population shift recently with about 90 per cent of New Zealanders now living in cities, as opposed to rural, which means the Government expenditure and recognition rural once enjoyed has shifted.

Rural communities are the canary of the coalmine for wider New Zealand society.


They are often the first to lose services such as post shops, dental services and schools.

They can also be the last to receive the infrastructure of a first world standard – think internet connectivity.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

But speaking of schools – there are a number of education sector consultations happening. Of note is what is happening in the early childhood sector.

At the moment the Ministry of Education is running sessions on the new draft strategic plan for early learning.

Once finalised, this plan will set the direction for early learning for the next 10 years, so if you want your views or community to be heard and taken seriously you should take part.

We are lucky the Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor earlier this year implemented a policy change which means rural communities must be considered when it comes to creating the "one size fits all" policy central government is known for.

But it is only luck and not good management that this occurred.


Which leads me to this: I encourage you all to take part in consultation around education.

You don't have to take part, but please understand a plan will happen with or without you. It will be better for your community if you took part.

If you can't make it to one of the consultation meetings taking place nationwide please access the online survey.

For information about where the meetings are being held or to access the consultation documents please visit the Education Conversation website.

Consultation on the new draft strategic plan for early learning finishes on March 15, 2019.

Any decision about you should be made with you included.