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Six more schools face closure

Published: 6:20AM Tuesday February 10, 2004

Six schools in the Northland area have been earmarked for closure as part of a government plan that will shut down almost 90 schools around New Zealand.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard has faced angry scenes around the country over the proposed closures, especially in Southland.

Thirty-four schools were closed by the government last year and a further 68 are due to shut at the end of this year.

Central Northland and the Russell peninsula, where eight out of 18 schools will close, are the last areas in a current round of reviews.

On Monday night Mallard made the announcement in Kawakawa that six more schools were heading for the chopping block.

In Mallard's plan, just five schools in the area will remain unchanged.

The schools targeted for closure are Te Kura o Matawaia, Motatau School, Orauta School, Ngaiotonga Valley School, Helena Bay School and Punaruku School.

Mallard said declining rolls meant school closures were necessary and that he wanted education resources to be spent on teaching children, not maintaining under-used buildings.

But not everyone was happy with the announcement.

Waihoroi Shortland of Ngati Hine told Mallard he had limited the iwi's options.

"What you've presented us has torn the heart of Ngati Hine...Therefore you leave us nowhere to go except to your mainstream schools."

The schools have until April to convince the minister they should survive.

Meanwhile, the National Party is urging parents to register their anger over school closures through a newly-launched postcard campaign.

National's education spokesperson, Bill English, warns that a further 10 districts are likely to find themselves under review in a few months.

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