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‘Mean-spirited’ education cuts condemned

Aug 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

maryanTHE GOVERNMENT may be talking about protecting jobs – but its plans for adult education will see thousands of tutors lose theirs, a protest meeting in Newlands has heard.

Colin Wharton, director of community education at Newlands College, said it was hypocritical of the Government to talk about protecting jobs while setting in motion cuts that will see more than 5000 tutors lose theirs.

The meeting, organised by the Labour Party to discuss proposed cuts to the adult and community education budget, packed the Newlands Community Centre last Thursday night.

The estimated 70 people in attendance voted unanimously to condemn the cuts.

Mr Wharton said he was “a National kind of guy”, but is now “a touch more red than he’s ever been in his life”.

Jan Pike of the Johnsonville Community Centre was among those who gave examples of the wide variety of classes under threat.

She said the centre’s Social English group, which encourages integration by improving immigrant women’s language skills, was typical of the sort of programme facing closure.

Labour’s tertiary education spokesperson Maryan Street (pictured) and list MP Charles Chauvel also spoke at the meeting, with Mr Chauvel condemning the cuts as “stupid and mean-spirited”.

He encouraged those attending to lobby local MPs Peter Dunne and Katrina Shanks and called on the Maori Party to speak up for its constituents on the issue.

“I think that Peter Dunne and the Maori Party, having decided to support the Government, really need to take responsibility for its decisions.”

The meeting was part of Labour’s ongoing efforts to rally community support for a nationwide campaign against the cuts.

 With adult education services at both Newlands and Onslow Colleges in the firing line, Ms Street said the issue was of vital importance to the Ohariu community.

 “What happens when you reach into the heart of a community and you rip out that infrastructure which has taken years to develop? It becomes incredibly difficult to restore.

“Newlands College has run adult community education classes for 33 years. They have thousands of enrolments each year, 81 tutors and 321 classes. And they are closing.”

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is a graduate from Whitireia's National Diploma in Journalism (Multimedia) who now works at Metro magazine in Auckland. While on the diploma programme she won the North & South Feature Writing Award.
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