Not unsurprisingly, Roche used the occasion to spout her Green Party political message and to launch into a political tirade, against, among others, the over 65s. As if ‘elder abuse’ weren’t already a serious concern in New Zealand, Roche revealed her prejudice by stating that too much of our taxes are put into the over 65 year olds, yet children are going to school hungry, and living in poverty - as if the two things were connected. Rather like the Jesuits of old, the Greens appear to have adopted the slogan "Give me a child for his first seven years and I'll give you the man", having long targeted schools as a ready source of new voters.
As clumsily short-sighted as Mayor Len Brown’s mantra that ‘children and young persons should come first’ (with no regard to equality and egalitarianism); the Green message takes it further - now children are the victims of those who’ve worked all their lives; paid taxes and rates; built this country and its economy and have committed the crime of being ‘over 65’. The Greens preach a political agenda that sets one section of the community against another. International news broadcasts show us daily where such stupidity and hatred can lead.
High School parents were not informed that their children would be attending a party political campaign meeting during school time or given the choice to withdraw their consent.
The High School is on thin ice allowing Roche to conduct a campaign meeting on-site but it’s not the first time the Green party has spread its political message this way. During the last local body elections, Green Party mouthpieces – team Essentially Waiheke candidates, also campaigned on school grounds and spoke to classes.
The school would do well to look at the State Service Act 1988 regarding codes of conduct for state employees and school Boards of Trustees (BOT).
“The States Services Commissioner also has the ability to issue codes for the education sector but has not done so at present. They have however issued guidance notes for State Employees (which includes the education workforce) and they have some useful guidance on such matters as Political Neutrality, which is defined as follows:-
Political neutrality - Persons working in the State services (State servants) are required to act in the course of their duties in a politically neutral manner. This includes the requirement to act impartially and to implement the Government's policies.
The requirement that State servants must be apolitical when carrying out their duties, functions and powers is an established constitutional convention in New Zealand. It is a principle that underpins the continuing employment status of State servants and enables State servants to provide consistent services (including policy development) for the government of the day.
What makes it murkier is the amount of funding the schools, and the High School in particular, are now receiving from this Green Party Local Board.
- $25,000 handed to the Te Huruhi Primary School BOT and Waiheke High School BOT (then headed by Roche’s partner John Stansfield) to undertake a ‘study which will explore the financial viability and development of a business model for a community pool to be built on Ministry of Education land at Donald Bruce Road'. That reads - where to site the new school pool the Local Board wants to build for them with ratepayers’ money. The Report was due at the end of April but hasn’t yet seen the light of day.
- Over a million dollars pilfered from other planned community and sporting projects and set aside for the building and running of this ‘school pool’.
- $200,000 a year is planned towards the running and upkeep of the High School gymnasium (originally intended as a community and school Recreation Centre), which is used almost exclusively by the school. This is a significant increase on previous annual amounts, which were calculated on the benefit of the facility to the community. Community benefit being the only reason for any Council/ratepayer involvement in the facility at all.
- $1,000 for work on the High School wetland on Ministry of Education (school) land. Really! Couldn’t this have been a school project to teach the kids the real, hands-on meaning of taking care of the environment? There is plenty of Council/ratepayer owned land that should rank higher in terms of financial assistance.
Parents have complained to me that they are very unhappy that the school allowed their children to be subjected to Roche’s political propaganda, especially as schools are supposed to be politically neutral. Worse still, Roche used her speech to preach a political message that encourages a victim and entitlement mentality in the young and age discrimination against the over 65s, the very people whose rates are paying for their facilities. If this is what the Greens are teaching the young then God help the future of this community. Worse still, imagine the consequences if they were running the country.