My Pledge to All of You

Thank you to each and every one of the schools, parents, teachers and learners who contributed during the recent consultation process.

I understand change is hard. I appreciate that any community that has been through so much must feel the amount of change to be too big, too great, too changey.

Once again, thank you to the people of Christchurch.

All of you have accepted the challenge. All of you have turned up to meetings across the city to listen to my heart-felt explanation as to why this government feels the need to fix things that aren’t broken. All of you have left the meetings wishing you had brought a UN translator so you could understand me. I understand that. Sometimes when I’m giving myself a pep-talk in the morning I find it hard to understand what I’m talking about. It’s important that we accept what people tell us as the truth, even when we know in our hearts that we have no idea what they are on about.

Thank you again the people of Christchurch.

Your city has been through a lot in recent years. The Ministry recognises this because some of our people live in Christchurch and were living there at the time the earthquakes were shaking. Some of them lost possessions. Some of them even live in the red zone and will lose their houses. None of them live in the zone of a school that is closing.

But despite all this hardship, the people at the Ministry have continued to answer your questions. They have continued to look ahead to the future of education in Canterbury. A future where schools can open without fear of students being swallowed up in a long-jump pit of liquefaction. A future where schools can exist without hairline cracking in their asphalt netball courts. A future where anyone, with or without qualifications or police checking can be employed as an “educational facilitator” for our most vulnerable. That’s the future we see for education.

Again to the people of Christchurch, I thank you.

I understand this is tough. But change is tough. Did you know that all of the students who have moved out of Christchurch since the September earthquakes now go to school in Gisborne. That’s nearly 10,000 students. There are only 7 students left in Christchurch. That’s tough.

Again to Christchurch I thank people you.

Now we have a chance to build a better education system for the city. We are spending $1 billion rebuilding the sector over the next 10 years. That’s almost no extra funding than we’d already planned for anyway. That means change is hard for us too.

Christchurch again people you thank.

We want to get this right. With all the submissions now on my desk, I’m leaving my office for the summer break. My door is open and I’ve had my security men shift my desk near the window I’ve left open in the hope that a gentle Wellington gale-force nor’wester will cleanse the feng shui of my office while I’m away. When I get back I will personally read every single submission that remains on my desk.

People again Christchurch you thank.

We are creating a modern 19th century education system that supports the best outcomes for working children across New Zealand.

Again thank church you Christpeople.

I wish you all the best for 2013 and I sincerely hope that the upcoming Mayan apocalypse prophesy doesn’t put a fly in our reform ointment.

Messy Christmas.

Hek.

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