The Government must explain why it is pushing to open doors to multinational private education providers through a controversial international free trade agreement, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“Documents leaked today show our Government is one of a handful wanting to protect the rights of multinational school franchises to set up operations here through the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).
“Such a move could undermine the Government’s ability to control who educates our kids. It would also limit the ability of future governments to undo some of the damage National has caused through its haphazard reforms.
“The National Government must not negotiate away New Zealand's right to make decisions about how we run our own public education system.
“For the past seven years National has been consistently undermining our public education system in favour of private sector providers. Now it’s trying to use trade negotiations to further undermine public education and open the door to further privatisation.
“The provision of education is a core duty of the state and for good reason; it builds a better future for all our children and our country.
“If National had full confidence in our education system, it wouldn’t need to be secretly pushing for extra protections in the proposed 23-nation trade agreement.
“With only Australia, Norway and Columbia also backing this move, it is clear other countries believe it is unnecessary.
“The Government must tell the public what it is proposing, why it is acting in the interests of multinational education providers instead of our world-class school system and whether it bothered to consult anyone in the sector first,” Chris Hipkins says.