Hostile reception for Minister of Education in Invercargill

Plans to reform the administration of schools is in it’s consultation stage. Good on Minister of Education Chris Hipkins fronting up in Invercargill, where he received some good Southland straight taking.

ODT: Hostile southern reception for Hipkins

Education Minister Chris Hipkins’s bid to reassure a public meeting in Invercargill that the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) would not be destroyed in his plans to merge the country’s 16 polytechnic was met with disbelief and hostility.

In his address Mr Hipkins paid tribute to SIT’s achievements and said the Government wanted this replicated on a national scale.

It has been pointed out that one size doesn’t fit all pupils or regions in education.

One speaker at the public meeting of about 500 people made it clear how angry she was at the proposals.

“If I had sandals or something I would be giving it to you because you are flip-flopping all over the place.”

Any size would probably do there.

Invercargill councillor Toni Biddle said his decision would be detrimental to the community, the iwi, housing and future generations.

“I feel frustrated because there is a lot of smoke and mirrors and no guarantees. You never worried about Southland before, so why worry about us now? You don’t want to be the minister that completely demolished the work that we have done for the last five years.”

He drew a rebuke from SIT CEO Penny Simmonds when he said that much was already decided nationally, including the institution’s budgets.

Ms Simmonds pointed out that a third of SIT’s did not come from government, but from other sources.

Speaking afterwards, she said much of what Mr Hipkins was saying was not in the proposals.

“We don’t know how this works. We are lost about what he is saying here and what is written.”

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, speaking in the afternoon, after Mr Hipkins held a meeting with the SIT Council, said Mr Hipkins had offered “nothing specific” in terms of SIT’s future.

“It was a lot of vague promises taking us into the promised land.”

That isn’t going down well in Southland where they prefer that a swede is called a swede (the turnip variety).

But speaking before a visit to Waihopai Primary School, Mr Hipkins said that the community’s understandably “passionate” welcome had been fully expected.

He said that that while the country was moving to a national system it had to still be decided what would be run nationally and what would be run locally.

He repeatedly stressed that no decisions had been taken and described the the proposal as “a framework” in which to improve vocational training.

That sounds like mushy overcooked swede.

He said fears that SIT would lose its distance learning facility were unfounded.

His attempts to appease those in the audience appeared to fall on deaf ears and one speaker accused him of punishing SIT for being successful.

SIT is something Southland has worked hard for. Taking away their points of difference would be like banning the Ranfurly Shield from Southland, or banning oysters.

More from ODT: ‘Vague promises’ over SIT’s future

I wonder if Hipkins will go to Invercargill to announce what reforms he ends up deciding on.

Leave a comment


  1. Duker

     /  2nd March 2019

    let me see, SIT is a state run institution, supported by state money and student fees ( ie loans from government)…plus they get more ratepayers money from the local councils and a liquor monopoly.
    And they say to the Minister of Education ( not the Finance Minister PG), we dont want the State inferring, even though for the rest of the country similar bodies are a shambles.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd March 2019

      It wasn’t state run at first, as I understand it; the people were taking a huge risk, because it could have been an expensive disaster.

  2. Stuff: They’ve seen future – it’s not Tomorrow’s Schools

    A taskforce reviewing education over the past 30 years says too many children are missing out.

    Thirty years after the last radical shakeup in education, another one is proposed. Do we really need it?–its-not-tomorrows-schools

  3. adamsmith1922

     /  2nd March 2019

    Hipkins is a tool of the Ministry and the unions. He has a closed mind.

  4. David

     /  2nd March 2019

    Unless you actually live in Invercargill its kinda hard to get your head around what a difference it made to the city.
    I dont imagine Hipkins cares much for anything outside of Wellington but will quite like the control. SIT is going to be a victim of some pretty shitty run polytechs and Labour wont win an electoral seat there for a generation if they stuff it up.

    • duperez

       /  2nd March 2019

      Since 1946 Labour has won Invercargill in only five of the 25 elections. They won’t be expecting to win it against a candidate like Sarah Dowie who had a majority of about 5,600.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd March 2019

        I have heard about the difference it’s made; the initial investment really paid off.

        Well done, Invercargill !

  5. Finbaar Rustle

     /  2nd March 2019

    Small schools in local neighbour hoods will be the future.
    Schools will be a house in a suburb where
    a few kids from local families will attend.
    Information and learning will be mostly online.
    There will be option days for pupils to meet up with pupils at other small schools.
    Pupils will have individually tailored programmes meeting
    their individual subject preferences, learning style and speed.

    • PartisanZ

       /  2nd March 2019

      Finbaar, you’re a traitor to both the Left and the Right …

      The former wants State Centralization, the latter Centralized Privatization …

      People doing ‘education’ in their own homes and neighbourhoods, with some local or central support – perhaps of their own choosing from a range of options (ie non-standardized) – is almost tantamount to academic and intellectual terrorism …

      It’s like allowing people to grow medicinal cannabis in their own back yards!!!

      If we don’t have a Centralized Education System, how will the population be sufficiently indoctrinated to maintain systems such as, for example ‘medically prescribed symptom-inhibiting mass murder’ – Oxicodone.

      It was recognised during the industrial revolution a single mechanism of population-wide indoctrination was required, along with population-wide child-minding. As a result universal compulsory schooling was forced upon everyone. The need is probably even greater today.

      Even those who claim to most ardently believe in and defend ‘individual freedom’ – the neoliberals – believe the exact opposite when it comes to ‘learning’.

      The type of schooling you are talking about will only ever exist as a form of ‘Underground Education’ or ‘Guerilla Schooling’ ….

    • Norm Grey

       /  2nd March 2019

      It is interesting to read the comments and very evident which commenters don’t live in Southland so don’t know how successful SIT has been – due to the dedication of Southlanders’ efforts.
      Just as Hipkin’s plans for primary and secondary education show political bias, advantage and implications and no acknowledgement of the success being achieved with the current system, change seems to be politically driven rather than there being an evident educational need for it.
      Having had all of my primary and secondary education in In’gill and having taught there for 4 years, [+ 44years elsewhere in NZ] the ignorance shown by some commenters – including Hipkins give no credit to the ongoing and successful efforts made by Southlanders resulting in no changes being necessary.

  1. Hostile reception for Minister of Education in Invercargill — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s