Hollow Vow Doesn't Educate Kids

I hope Havelock North moves fast on their MP's promise to build them a new mainstream primary school, if there is a need.

Given the Government has already agreed on the need, all Craig Foss has to do is make the announcement. I'd get Mr Foss to reaffirm his agreement that there is a need in writing and given this, ask him to provide a start date and where it will be built.

The work's been done. Five years ago the Ministry of Education saw the need to build a new primary school to meet local needs. Back then, it bought land at the Arataki Motor Camp site to build it on. Last year Havelock North's Primary School roll numbers were way above the roll numbers the Government used to draw its own conclusion in 2010.

Anna LorckBy year's end, primary school rolls are estimated to climb by nearly 200 pupils, last year it was nearly 100 more and the rolls will keep climbing.

Add to this, another 300 to 700 residential sections will soon come on-stream along the other side of Brookvale Road and the situation will get worse.

Last week the Hastings District Council held an urgent meeting and agreed to make this a top priority to meet housing demand.

Now I can't help it if Mr Foss, who has already told us in his own words that he is "on the hop" when it comes to what's happening in his own backyard.

But he could help himself by simply doing his homework.

We all know the Havelock North community worked hard to future-proof the growing needs to meet its education demands. They planned ahead with vision.

Then without a word, the Government deliberately shut them out of consultation, and hid behind the Education Act, to justify its behaviour.

Given how the people of Havelock North have been treated I believe they deserve to know what the future landscape will now look like to meet its education needs.

How does the Government now plan to cope with growing rolls? Will it build more classrooms at the existing school sites? Does it plan to grow class sizes to 35 or more? Will it be shipping in transportable classrooms onto the playgrounds? Will families be split up with siblings going to different schools? Will school buses pick up children and take them to schools in Clive, Hastings, Haumoana because the schools in their village can no longer teach them?

Based on the performance of Education Minister Hekia Parata along with her associate Nikki Kaye and Mr Foss, I suspect Havelock North will get nothing. Just hollow excuses.

We only have to look back at their attitude to Havelock North's community. All we have had is nasty personal attacks to avoid answering questions in the public interest.

Mr Foss even asked for Ms Kaye to protect him, after losing his footing on when and what exactly was the "high level" information he received.

To this day Mr Foss has never confirmed when and what he was told.

So I think it's fair to say, Havelock North might be waiting a very long time for a new mainstream school. They are being played by this dream team of Hekia, Kaye and Foss.

But it's amazing what can happen when the right amount of pressure comes on and they start to realise their futures could be on the line.

If I was the MP for Tukituki I would call for an urgent independent report into the educational needs of Havelock North and how this needs to be addressed in future. Primary schools rolls are at crisis level and that is only going to spread into other levels.

As part of this, I'd acknowledge there needs to be an open and transparent process so Havelock North can voice their support and concerns and help get answers and information. hen I'd to host a series of community meetings can be held so the community can engage and talk openly about how they build another case that further demonstrates Havelock North needs a new mainstream school.

Trust me, when the people of Havelock North stand up and fight against a Government that has taken their voter support for granted, they will have a far greater chance of getting a new school, than ever getting Mr Foss to keep his hollow promise.