Treaty claim against Minister of Education on reforms

By Taroi Black

There are yet more concerns with the government's reforms on vocational education, with the Waitangi Tribunal today confirming that a claim regarding the issue has been submitted.  Fears are also growing amongst faculty members who say the reforms would result in job losses.

Opposition has been growing to the Minister of Education's proposed new mega-polytechnic, made worse according to one polytechnic teacher by a short seven-week consultation period.

Māori carver and tutor for Northec, Mike Looker says, “A lot of [students] aren't here to make money.  You might get one in twenty here to make some money but I could tell after a while he doesn't want to make money because his whole whakaaro changes.  So if [the government] does this I'm afraid that they will stamp us out...and it will affect our students.”

“For instance, you're saying 'okay we want to get this [course] through faster so that we can begin this equal learning or industry thing'.  When you do toi Māori you don't come in here with that whakaaro we haven't started.  I don't teach just so that my students can become rich, our rich is a different rich.”

The Waitangi Tribunal told Te Ao Māori News that the Industry Training Organisation Skills Active submitted a Treaty Claim against the reforms.  More than 50% of Skills Active shareholders are Māori and are not ready for the new reforms, including chairperson for the Mataatua District Māori Council Maanu Paul, who says the time-frame for the reforms is unreasonable and unfair.

Associate Minister for Education Tracey Martin has already told Te Ao Māori News that a meeting with Minister Chris Hipkins relating to Māori concerns will be considered.