Government unveils law to scrap charter schools but some can stay on 'case by case' basis

The Government has unveiled new legislation to abolish charter schools, but not all of them will go.

The proposed law will allow some existing charter schools to continue, decided on a "case by case" basis.

That comes after MPs Kelvin Davis and Willie Jackson said they were in favour of the model. Mr Jackson's Manukau Urban Maori Authority runs a charter school in South Auckland and had plans to open another.

The bill also puts into law plans to dump National Standards and introduces a penalty for those who lie about their eligibility for free tertiary education. 

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the bill "ends the previous government's failed National Standards and charter schools experiments".  

He wants "early termination" of charter school contracts by the end of the school year.

"Operators wanting to be involved in education can apply to me to establish another form of school, such as a designated character school. As part of this process, applications would need to meet the relevant requirements," he said.

The move to scrap charter schools was welcomed by education unions NZEI and PPTA.

The bill will have its first reading when Parliament resumes next week.

teacher classroom
A teacher in her classroom (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS

'Amazing' West Coast effort sees thousands of plastic bags collected after storm

A social media call for volunteers resulted in hundreds of West Coasters turning out for a mass clean up after the storm spewed plastic bags from a nearby rubbish dump across a Greymouth beach. 

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn told 1 NEWS he posted on Facebook saying, "It won't take long. Loaders have done their job. Now it is up to us". 

"I said 'hey, we're having a working bee', and that's that."

West Coasters picking up plastic bags on Waitangi Day.
West Coasters picking up plastic bags on Waitangi Day. Source: Tony Kokshoorn

Mr Kokshoorn told Radio New Zealand last week the storm eroded a closed rubbish dump, pulling the plastic bags out of the ground over a 20 kilometres area on the Cobden coast. 

About 200 people rolled up their sleeves to help on Waitangi Day, only taking a few hours to collect tens of thousands of plastic bags that threatened to go out to sea. 

"It was an amazing community effort," Mr Kokshoorn told 1 NEWS. 

He said the area is often looked at as not being environmentally friendly, but the clean up was a "perfect" way to show the passion the local West Coasters have for their environment. 

It was only a week ago when the remnants of an ex-cyclone ripped through the West Coast, taking off roofs, destroying windows and causing Greymouth town centre to close. 

But already it's "back to normal" for the West Coast. 

"Today's a scorcher," Mr Kokshoorn said. "It's business as usual."

However the area doesn't want a repeat of last week's plastic covered beach, injecting up to $1 million into the rubbish dump for repairs.

"We're not messing around,' he said. 

Bags of collected plastic bags collected near Greymouth.
Bags of collected plastic bags collected near Greymouth. Source: Tony Kokshoorn


Kiwis in favour of raising age free dental care can be accessed - poll suggests

New Zealanders are in favour of increasing the age young people can access free dental care from 17 to 20, according to a poll conducted on social media. 

The unscientific 1 NEWS Facebook poll which asked if the age of free dental care should increase, after a story about a charitable dentist who started a petition asking for changes to New Zealand dental care. 

Dr Assil Russell of Revive A Smile suggests subsidised dental care for at-need communities, the age for access to free dental care increased to 20, and the removal of GST from dental services.

The 1 NEWS poll asks: "Should Kiwis up to the age of 20 get free dental care?"

Only 66 people were against the notion, with 970 people voting in favour. 

Cash-strapped residents of the Hawke's Bay town are keen to take up the volunteer dentists' services. Source: 1 NEWS

Commenter Erin Collard wrote on the post: "For all ages it needs to at least be subsidised. Receiving dental care as needed is so out of reach for me."

Claire Butler said: "People need to take responsibility for their own teeth, free dental visit right up until they leave school, so if one can't look after their teeth by then, well I'm sorry, but they never will."

Megan Joy wrote: "I'd prefer if everyone got subsidised [dental]. Nobody needs free dental. Everybody needs to be able to afford to go to the dentist. We all need to help each other. Our taxes should go to help everyone."

Helen Clark has urged the government to make dental care fully funded, but Dr Assil Russel says that would be a hard task. Source: Breakfast

Trish Hare commented: "When the cost of extraction is more than a day and a half's work, then you know that dentistry is beyond the reach of the majority."

A leading researcher says dental care is being treated like a luxury.
Source: 1 NEWS