The Alliance Party of New Zealand has described funding cuts to Adult Community Education (ACE) as “social vandalism” by the National Party.
Alliance Party education spokesperson Richard Mitchell says the decision to attack such a basic and positive part of New Zealand life such as adult and community education shows the type of Government they are: mean, small-minded and anti-social.
“We get upset at tagging and other anti-social activities, yet this action of the National Government is just as harmful to our communities.”
“We are now seeing the end result of last election’s tax cut competition between National and Labour, tax cuts which benefited the most well off and which have starved funding for the most basic of community services.”
Mr Mitchell says at a time when New Zealand is struggling with social breakdown, recession-hit communities and educational underachievement, gutting community education is irresponsible.
He says the amount of money involved is not much for the Government, and shows an “attitude problem” more than a shortage of resources.
“The National Party has reverted to type, and is rapidly moving back to the 1990s style approach which means attacking ordinary New Zealanders and the things which give us all a better quality of life.”
In last month’s budget an education funding “reprioritisation” led to $54 million being cut from ACE hobby courses.
200,000 adults participating in night classes would be affected by the cuts.
Mr Mitchell says New Zealand needs a fully-funded public education system paid for by progressive taxation.
“Education is a right, not a privilege, and should be accessible to all New Zealanders, not just those who can afford it”.
The Alliance Party supports the community education providers campaign to reinstate Adult Community Education funding and urges all New Zealanders to support the campaign at http://www.stopnightclasscuts.org.nz/