SAYit Blog
Closing Christchurch Schools

I'm sure most SAYit members will be aware that the Government announced plans to close or merge a number of schools in Christchurch last month as a result of the earthquake.  In February 2013 we conducted a poll exploring how people felt about those closures, asking New Zealanders to choose between three options:

  • "It was inevitable that these schools would have to close and the Government have handled the situation well"
  • "It was inevitable that these close would have to close but the Government could have handled the situation better"
  • "The schools should not be closed or merged at all"

Clearly most people won't know the specific circumstances of the schools involved so they're commenting on what they've heard in the media or picked up by word of mouth.  The numbers do, however, indicate that although most people think the closures and mergers had to happen, they were not handled particularly well.

  • 15% of New Zealanders said that the closures were inevitable and that the Government handled the situation well.
  • 63% felt that the closures were inevitable but that the Government could have handled the situation better
  • 22% believe that the schools should not be closed or merged at all.

Christchurch residents are obviously the ones who matter most on this issue, as they're the ones who are most likely to be directly affected.

  • Just 8% of Christchurch said that the closures were inevitable and that the Government handled the situation well.
  • 68% felt that the closures were inevitable but that the Government could have handled the situation better
  • 25% believe that the schools should not be closed or merged at all.

Unfortunately the sample sizes aren't large enough to separate out the responses from those who live close to the affected schools.

It's no surprise to see that responses to this question are closely related to party vote, but what is interesting is how many National voters think that the government could have handled the issue better:

  • National voters - 28% inevitable & handled well, 63% inevitable but not handled well, 8% shouldn't be close or merged
  • Labour voters - 3% inevitable & handled well, 63% inevitable but not handled well, 34% shouldn't be close or merged
  • Green voters - 6% inevitable & handled well, 67% inevitable but not handled well, 27% shouldn't be close or merged

This week's other blog looks at how to tell the difference between real polls and fake polls that are really sales calls - click here.