Tuesday, February 19, 2013


On the 18th February reporter Duncan Garner tweeted:

Did Labour really close 281 schools over 9 years? Chippe u out there? Can u help? Weren't you in Mallard's office at the time?

Chris Hipkins tweets back to Garner:

Yep there were closures under Labour. The process was better, but there was still huge backlash and we promised not to do more.

He doesn't actually confirm the number, just that school closures were made.

Next the Youth section of the National Party get in on the action and tweet this:

Labour's Education spokesman was a Senior Advisor to @TrevorMallard when he & Helen Clark closed over 280 schools. #nzpol #chchschools

The Prime Minister, possibly in a relaxed manner, though this is unconfirmed, goes on to tweet this:

Via staff RT:@nzyoungnats Labour's Education spokesman was a Senior Advisor to Mallard when he & Clark closed over 280 schools #chchschools

I get interested. Over 280 schools closed, gosh that's big numbers. So I google, and I google, and I can't find a damn thing on the internet aside from old news articles on the UK Labour Government having closed over 280 schools. It could be a coincidence, but something isn't staking up. I find a NZ Herald article that quotes a lower figures but not for the entire time Labour was in Govt. Did they state in the article that Labour were going to stop school closures but then go on a last minute closing frenzy before being turfed out of Government?

Former Labour Education Minister Trevor Mallard then tweets this:
  1. @Garner_Live @patrickgowernz Article from 2005 with school closures. Nothing like @johnkeypm or @nzyoungnats say.”
  2. @johnkeypm @nzyoungnats liars. @chrishipkins advised on few schools @end and 2 stop the process. I owned decisions unlike u and @HekiaParata 

    Young Nats tweet back at Mallard:

    .@TrevorMallard 1999-2008. 281 schools closed. We've CC'd in your Advisor to refresh his memory. FYI @chrishipkins.

    Note: this link, this proof, offers no proof - in fact it refutes what they've just said.

    Trevor Mallard @nzyoungnats @johnkeypm still lying.
Yes, Mallard saw the article I found. I kind of would have hoped that being the person formally in the role of Minister of Education that he could have put an end to this, but eh. Nothing doing. So because nobody in Labour is around to refute this with an actual number, Nats go to town.

In Parliament yesterday this happened:

Rt Hon John Key: Has the Minister seen reports that the current, National-led Government has closed only 49 schools—on average, 12 a year—when the previous Labour Government closed 281 schools (emphasis mine), or an average of 31 a year; and if there was a change of Government where the Greens are involved, do you think it is possible that it would ever close any school? [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Hon HEKIA PARATA: The Prime Minister is quite correct.

In the Questions for Written Answer:

2884 (2012). Catherine Delahunty to the Minister of Education (10 Apr 2012): Of the 281 schools closed between 2003-2008, how many were closed as a result of network reviews and how many solely because of performance issues?
Hon Hekia Parata (Minister of Education) replied: School closures have generally been the result of changing demographics and also offer opportunities to rationalise schooling building stock and provide more modern teaching environments. As I advised the Member in response to written question 2845 (2012), 205 schools closed, not 281, between 2003-2008: • 101 closed because of network reviews • 90 were voluntary closures • 14 were directed closures. No schools were closed solely for performance reasons.

Please note: Delahunty is a GREEN MP. Not Labour, GREEN. Labour - sort your shit out.

I think this whole thing can be summed up by an exchange I had on twitter with National Minister Tau Henare:

West Side Tory: 281 schools closed under Labour. 44 under our govt. #MoaningMurtles

Dovil: West Side Tory Where do you get that number from? Source or it didn't happen.

West Side Tory: Dovil 281
Dovil: West Side ToryYes, that's the number you are stating. But where did you get the info from? Young Nats twitter account or Wizard doesn't count. 

West Side Tory: Dovil Haha 281 it is buddy. 

Dovil‏: tauhenare That's not offering proof, that's just repetition. Are you just repeating what you've heard without knowing whether it's true?

He then tweets the number 281. That's our politicians at work, ladies and gentlemen. Jesus Christ.

The point is at no point was any proof offered or any sources cited. I've tweeted Garner since he seems to be the internet source of all of this but I'm guessing I'm not going to get an answer. If you now google, you will find that number linked to the NZ Labour Party - it has now been made truth.

Maybe it is? But if you're going to make claims back it up, and if you're the accused fight back with facts.

A reporter feed information that he got (from where?) into twitter that was then picked up by politicians that was then picked up by the media and was made into a real boy. 

That is scary.

No comments: