[Sitting date: 31 July 2012. Volume:682;Page:4070. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the
Associate Minister of Education: What progress has been made on the charter schools policy?
Hon JOHN BANKS (Associate Minister of Education)
: Since its announcement last December as part of the ACT-National confidence and supply agreement, this policy has made excellent progress. We have established a first-class working group of dedicated and knowledgable New Zealanders. Its members have travelled the country, consulting with members of the community. They have found overwhelming support for the policy. The charter schools policy promises to be a major advance for the one in five New Zealand students leaving school out of work, out of hope, and out of luck. Indeed, more progress has been made on this policy in the last 8 months than was made in the entire education portfolio from, say, 1999 to 2008.
Hon David Parker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Following on from the points you made in respect of the Rt Hon Winston Peters, how was that response in order, given the primary question? [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Given the primary question asked, the Minister answered in some detail, and then compared progress that has been made, which I accept was unnecessary but, believe me, if I start ruling that sort of thing out, I will be ruling an awful lot of questions out, too. [Interruption] Order! The members will get control of themselves. I did not rule the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ question out of order. I left it for the Minister to handle, as the Minister saw fit, and the members know I tend to do that. I do not rule questions out of order, even though I could rule many out of order, but I do not. The Minister answered the primary question asked, in some detail, and then, I
accept, put a bit of unnecessary stuff at the end, but the bit that he put at the end was not actually that terrible.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Will the curriculum in charter schools include a unit on reading and comprehension, so that individuals who sign documents and declare them to be true and accurate understand their obligation for that to be the case?
Hon JOHN BANKS: The curriculum could include teaching kids to be very wary of Labour MPs who sell tickets to kids—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The House will come to order, or some people will be leaving it. I accept these issues are tense, but the question did ask, on the face of it, an issue about the curriculum to do with English. There should be some attempt to answer in respect of the English curriculum, before anything is added about any other part of the curriculum.
Hon JOHN BANKS: Let me answer the English curriculum question. The curriculum could include teaching kids how to spell words like “vexatious” and “exonerated”. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear the honourable—[Interruption] Order! The House will settle down.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Will the curriculum in charter schools include a unit on improving memory; if so, will that unit use, as an example, the individual who personally solicited a donation from a casino, personally received that donation, and claimed to forget it when declaring donations?
Hon JOHN BANKS: Well, in respect of memory and declaring donations and costs, they might be taught that when they see a Labour Party election pledge card worth $446,000 it was probably paid for by the taxpayers—by ripping off the taxpayers. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Now if it takes someone to go, to bring some order to the House, someone will go.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Will the curriculum in charter schools include a unit on ethics; if so, will it make it clear—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear the question.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Will the curriculum in charter schools include a unit on ethics; if so, will it make it clear that it is unethical to lie to the media and, through them, to the people of New Zealand?
Hon JOHN BANKS: It could include a provision for the teaching of ethics, and the charter school kids might be taught that one should not sign a painting if one did not paint it, because that is forgery—that is forgery.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have called Alfred Ngaro to ask question No. 8. [Interruption] Order! I ask both front benches please to come to order.