School campaign to continue, says protest organiser

9:59 pm on 24 September 2012

The organiser of a protest in Christchurch says people will continue pushing the Government to back down on its plans to reduce the number of schools in the city.

Up to 2000 people gathered in Hagley Park on Saturday to protest against the Ministry of Education's proposal to close or merge 31 schools in the region.

Protesters included included teachers, principals and students.

Protesters included included teachers, principals and students. Photo: RNZ

Protest organiser Wayne Hawker, the former chair of the board of trustees at Phillipstown School, says the turnout shows that Cantabrians are not going to let their schools be shut down.

"This Government has now opened up an attack on our schools, our communities and our kids. We're not going to stand by and let that happen."

Education Minister Hekia Parata has said people have the right to protest in a democracy and she believes most understand there will need to be changes to the Canterbury schools system.

Mr Hawker says concern about the proposals is gaining momentum and he's urging the Government to meet with those most affected.

He says if the Government doesn't with community leaders, there will be further action, including a major street march.

Mr Hawker believes the proposals will have ramifications for the whole country and he's urging other centres to support the protest action.