9 May 2017

Labour committed to anti-charter school policy - Little

9:11 am on 9 May 2017

The Labour Party remains opposed to charter schools despite new candidate Willie Jackson being involved in running one.

Mr Jackson, the new Labour list candidate and Māori campaign director has been a vocal support of the schools.

The Te Kura Māori o Waatea charter school in Auckland comes under the Manukau Urban Māori Authority, of which Mr Jackson is the chief executive, although RNZ understands he intends to step down from that role.

Andrew Little and Willie Jackson

Labour Party leader Andrew Little, left, and Willie Jackson. Photo: RNZ

He spoke on TVNZ's Q and A at the weekend about Labour's charter school policy.

"Well, they'll get rid of the name, and they'll get rid of the concept but the principle of turning kids lives around is something that ... all of Labour believes in," Mr Jackson said.

"So call the school whatever you like."

Labour Party leader Andrew Little told Morning Report that Labour's policy was clear - it opposed charter schools. He said the funding model for the schools was a "con".

"Willie Jackson is a Labour Party candidate and he signs up to Labour Party policy, that's it, that's a fact and that's what has happened and is going to happen."

He said he and Mr Jackson shared the same view - they wanted Māori children to succeed in schools.

"But we do have some bottom lines which is that the people who stand in front of our children need to be trained, registered teachers, and they've got to teach to the national curriculum."

The school Mr Jackson was involved with has registered teachers and also taught the national curriculum, Mr Little said.

"If the objective is about the best environment for our kids and every child learning and achieving success [Mr Jackson] totally signs up to that," Mr Little said.

If Labour won the election it would continue to support Kura Kaupapa schools and special character schools, Mr Little said.

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