New Zealand's Private 'Welfare School'

Posted by Ed 2 mths ago

School principals are up in arms over an $11.7M grant given to a new 'green school' made of bamboo.   

The NP Principals Association is shocked at the precedent that this announcement sets. We have state and state integrated schools crying out for funding for leaky buildings, modernisation projects and overcrowding issues.”
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Ed 2 mths ago
'I wanted to vomit': Pressure on Shaw to pull support for private school
Pressure is mounting on Green Party co-leader James Shaw to pull his support for $11.7 million of taxpayers' money being handed to the privately-owned Taranaki Green School.

The $11.7 million would be funded via the $3 billion set aside for infrastructure in the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, he said.

It's not just principals, unions and the Opposition who are furious - his own party candidates and former MPs are ordering him to fix it.


Not one, or two, but four former Green Party MPs couldn't hit social media fast enough to blast their party for backing taxpayer-funding of a private school in coastal Ōakura.

Sue Bradford described the move as incredible, and a total hand-out to the wealthy.

Mojo Mathers took to Twitter to say she was furious, while Denise Roche warned the party's credibility was being ruined by such a move.

Catherine Delahunty, who was a Green MP for nine years - holding the education portfolio for many of them - says she's astonished.

"This is a mistake, fix the mistake and the electorate will respect you for it. Don't fix it and they will lose faith in you, it's that simple."

Kealy Warren, acting principal of Marfell Community School - a low decile school in nearby New Plymouth, couldn't believe the news.

"I felt physically sick, I wanted to vomit. I could not believe we were being so disrespected in favour of an elitist private school."

She says it sent a message of worthlessness to her students.

"I'm heartbroken for our beautiful children that have been told yet again you're the bottom of the heap stay there - what are you going to amount to?

"You're the bottom of the heap, just stay there, you're not going to add to the economy when you grow up so sit there in your leaky classroom," she said.

The Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson are in damage control and are holding an online meeting tonight with frustrated and disappointed party members.

High-profile candidate Ricardo Menendez March is one of those, and has already gone public with his criticism.

He says candidates are free to say when they disagree, and giving millions to a private school in Taranaki doesn't align with the party's policy.

Shaw says he knows the state of public schools is not good enough, but the Government has allocated almost $2 billion towards fixing them - the money just hasn't reached most of them.

"This is an area I think that New Zealand should be frankly ashamed of in terms of our continuing underinvestment in this area."

Shaw says it's not true to say the Greens have abandoned their policy to not publicly fund private schools.


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Ed 2 mths ago
School Principal sends Government $26.9m invoice in call for equal treatment

Angry at the $11.7 million funding of a private school, a Taranaki principal has sent the Government a $26.9m invoice in an attempt to get equal treatment for her students.

On Wednesday, Associate Minister of Finance and Green Party co-leader James Shaw announced the Green School in Ōākura would be given the funding for its multi million-dollar expansion project.

This was heavily criticised by many in the region, including Marfell Community School acting principal Kealy Warren, who sent an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday.

On Friday, Warren then sent the Government an invoice for $26.9m – to be paid within 30 days.

She arrived at the figure by dividing the $11.7m grant to the Green School by 50 students, which worked out to be $234,000 per head.

Warren then multiplied the figure by her 115 students, to get $26.9m for her school and included a $90 administration fee.

“Please make payment to the school office in person so that you can see the impact the decision to fund the Green School has had,” the invoice read.


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Ed 2 mths ago
Greens co-leader James Shaw's plea to voters after private school funding 'mistake'

Amid significant backlash for backing a $11.7 million grant to an exclusive private school, Greens co-leader James Shaw is urging voters to not ditch the party over "one mistake".

And despite pressure on Shaw to try pull the funding, Finance Minister Grant Robertson has ruled out doing a U-turn.

"The Government has made an agreement here," Roberson said.

"I can understand that there are people who perhaps don't like it or would rather the decision was changed. The Government's got to act in good faith here with an applicant, so I've got no intention to [reverse it]."

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Ed 59 days ago
Green School at centre of $12m funding debacle struggling with backlash
The almost $12 million doled out to the privately-run Green School in Taranaki was always intended to be mostly loans, its chief executive Chris Edwards says.

Edwards said the school applied for funding for an expansion project in good faith and was struggling with the backlash.

"It was for a shovel-ready infrastructure project. We also ticked the green box and ticked the box that said that the consequence of the investment would be an injection into the economy which in our case was a sizeable one."

The application went through the appropriate review bodies and was approved, but it was never meant to be just a grant, Edwards said.

"It was never, ever an $11.7 million grant. There was a small portion that was going to be a grant and the other elements were essentially loans."

Edwards said the language around the money had become confused, but he could not clarify whether it was now considered a grant or not.

"I can't really answer that question, not because I'm dodging it, but because I'm not responsible for that application."

Edwards could not say whether the school's owners would be willing to give the money back.
Oh WoW!

Edwards also found himself distancing the school from parents of students there who have publicly expressed Covid-19 conspiracy theories and held something called a "lion's gate abundance and manifestation ceremony" on its grounds.

Christof Melchizedek, who describes himself on his website as a "navigator, architect and guardian" in the service of the "Devine Plan" has been reported as saying in a now-deleted Facebook post that Covid-19 was a "manufactured natural disaster" and a "UN 2030 vision".

Melchizedek and his partner Alaya had also planned to plant a sacred crystal grid on school property with students.

So the CEO of the Green School is unsure if the 11.7M is a loan or a grant.  Right.... 

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Ed 59 days ago
James Shaw may get some reprieve if Green School funding treated as 'loan'
Analysis - James Shaw's ministerial colleagues have not exactly rushed to help him out after he delivered a massive 'mea culpa' over the funding decision for the private Green School.
The Greens' co-leader and government minister has fronted up and apologised to a long list of those outraged by his active support of the nearly $12 million grant, but still with no solution.

One may be on the horizon though - with the school telling RNZ it is open to much of the money it was promised being treated as a loan.

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Ed 59 days ago
National Party leader Judith Collins says Green Party co-leader James Shaw should resign over his mistake approving a $11.7 million grant for Taranaki Green School.

"I'm surprised he didn't resign yesterday. I think he should," Collins said.

Shaw also held up the process of releasing the list of government grants for "shovel-ready projects", she said.

"It's not just that he advocated for a particular Green School that doesn't even have education registration to be a school, but that he's actually held up all these projects on the basis that he was holding the rest of the government basically to ransom," Collins said.

"This is totally unacceptable."

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Ed 59 days ago
The Bali Green School also has a Healing Crystal

Every day at 2 pm, the gong sounds and regardless of what is happening, everyone will be silent for one minute. Students can also use the yoga and meditation space (the only structure not of bamboo but made of ironwood and teak).

And there is a healing circle anchored by an impressively huge smoke quartz crystal. This is a place for contemplation, to be present, and to talk about the larger themes of life.
But does it protect against Covid???? 

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Ed 59 days ago
More on the Couple who endorsed Covid-19 conspiracy theories hosted 'sacred ceremony' at Green School

A self-described “New Age architect” who has publicly expressed Covid-19 conspiracy theories held a “sacred ceremony” at Oakura’s Green School, which has been promised $11.7 million in “shovel ready” money by the Government for an expansion project.

Recently, Christof and Alaya Melchizedek ran a “lion's gate abundance and manifestation ceremony” that included “bio-energy field cleaning” and “DNA activation” at the school, which is sited between New Plymouth and Oakura.

In a Facebook post, which has since been deleted, Christof Melchizedek called Covid-19 a “manufactured natural disaster” and a “UN 2030 vision” that included “vaccinated nanochip technology” and the “looming possibility of vaccination agendas”, which are all claims circulated by conspiracy theorists.


The Melchizedeks had also promoted a $15,000 tour of New Zealand, which would include planting crystals with the school’s students.

“We're going to be laying down a crystal bed. Everyone will be bringing crystals from all around the world. We are going to be unifying them and bringing in this fifth-dimensional consciousness,” Christof Melchizedek explained in a video.

During a visit to New Plymouth on Monday, where National’s school infrastructure policy statement was released, the party’s education spokeswoman, Nicola Willis, suggested the crystals may have miraculously helped the school obtain the money.
This is exactly the sort of thing NZ tax payers will want the $11.7M grant to go towards.  More healing crystals, perhaps a rain dance ceremony during droughts, how about a weekly seance?   
If I was deciding on how to spend the windfall, I would fly Joan Baez in on a private jet and have her sing Kumbaya, My Lord while all in attendance thump away on drums.  

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Ed 59 days ago
Revealed: 44 projects worth $600m at stake over James Shaw's 'ultimatum' email

There were at least 44 infrastructure projects awaiting Green Party co-leader James Shaw's approval when he emailed ministerial colleagues to draw a line in the sand over the Green School.

The projects are collectively worth about $1.3 billion, of which the Government contribution is earmarked at $600 million.

Shaw is now being accused of "hypocrisy" and "disgraceful" tactics by the Opposition for potentially putting that funding and hundreds of jobs at risk by appearing to refuse to sign off the projects unless the private school was included.


An email has surfaced that went to Government ministers and the Treasury from Shaw's office last month.

"Minister Shaw won't sign this briefing [of infrastructure projects] until the Green School in Taranaki is incorporated," the email dated August 7 said.

"Sorry to be the spanner-in-the-works, but if we can get the project included, he'll sign everything this afternoon."


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Ed 59 days ago
Michael and Rachel Perrett
James Shaw says he warned Green School and New Plymouth mayor against going to Crown for money
Associate Finance Minister James Shaw says he warned the couple behind the controversial Taranaki Green School, and New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom, to steer clear of seeking government funding, but they went ahead anyway.

The revelation came during a whirlwind Tuesday on which Shaw made a public apology for his decision to invest $11.7 million in the school, National Party leader Judith Collins called for the Government to axe the funding, and Taranaki principals en masse sent invoices to ministers for the millions they believe their schools are entitled to.

During a midday press conference, Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party, said that when Neil Holdom introduced him to Rachel and Mike Perrett, who started the Green School, he warned them against seeking Crown money.

“Ironically one of the things I said to them was, ‘Are you sure you want to come to the Crown for money because often government money is more trouble than it’s worth?’

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