‘It’s soul-de­stroy­ing’

Prin­ci­pal says child re­straint rules heap more pres­sure on North­land teach­ers

The Northern Advocate - - Front Page - con­tin­ued on A2

ANorth­land prin­ci­pal says call­ing po­lice and ex­clud­ing stu­dents is the only op­tion when deal­ing with volatile chil­dren.

The com­ments from Pat New­man, Hora Hora Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal and pres­i­dent of the Te Tai Tok­erau Prin­ci­pals’ As­so­ci­a­tion, come af­ter two re­cent cases — one in North­land — where prin­ci­pals were in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice af­ter re­strain­ing stu­dents.

New­man said re­straint guide­lines, which were in­tro­duced last year, al­ready put pres­sure on teach­ers but when ed­u­ca­tors who fol­low guide­lines are in­ves­ti­gated any­way, like the two prin­ci­pals in ques­tion, it adds to that pres­sure.

“I’ve been think­ing quite se­ri­ously about it and I think the only thing we can do is to start call­ing the po­lice up for ev­ery in­ci­dent.

“I think my ad­vice to prin­ci­pals now would be ‘Don’t put your hand on any kid and if they’re go­ing to be [volatile] all the time ex­clude them’,” he said.

Ex­clu­sion is when chil­dren 16 and un­der are for­mally re­moved from the school.

New­man said that, while no charges were laid against ei­ther prin­ci­pal, the im­pact of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was huge.

“It’s soul-de­stroy­ing. You start to ques­tion your own judg­ment, you start to re­ally sin­cerely think about whether it’s worth do­ing the job be­cause you’ve got a life, you’ve got a rep­u­ta­tion, you’ve got a fam­ily to take care of.”

The child re­straint guide­lines were de­signed to sup­port the Ed­u­ca­tion Act which says staff must only re­strain a child if the safety of the stu­dent or any other per­son is at se­ri­ous and im­mi­nent risk.

They also re­quire schools to no­tify, mon­i­tor and re­port on the use of phys­i­cal re­straint.

But New­man said the rules are not clear.

For ex­am­ple the guide­lines say

You start to re­ally sin­cerely think about whether it’s worth do­ing the job.

Prin­ci­pal Pat New­man

Juken NZ’s an­nounce­ment that agree­ment had been reached with its em­ploy­ees’ unions, al­low­ing plans for the re­fur­bish­ing of its tri­board mill in Kaitaia to pro­ceed, was de­scribed by Mayor John Carter as the best news ever for the town.

“I am de­lighted. Ab­so­lutely stoked,” he said from Bei­jing where he is cur­rently meeting po­ten­tial in­vestors in the Far North.

“This goes a very long way to se­cur­ing the fu­ture of Kaitaia, and I can’t tell you how glad I am about that.”

North­land MP Matt King con­grat­u­lated the com­pany and the unions for work­ing to­gether to achieve the best pos­si­ble out­come.

“The re­sult is one that everyone can ac­cept, and I’m de­lighted about that,” he said. “I’m sorry that some jobs will be lost, but the im­por­tant thing is that the mill’s fu­ture is guar­an­teed long term, and that’s great news for Kaitaia.”

Juken ( JNL) told mill staff last month that it needed to make changes, in­clud­ing in­vest­ing to re­fur- bish the plant and tech­nol­ogy, to re­turn it to prof­itabil­ity. Those changes would in­clude some job losses.

Re­gional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Shane Jones wel­comed “a good out­come for Kaitaia” with about 10 workers end­ing up job­less — fewer than orig­i­nally feared — and a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar in­vest­ment in the mill’s fu­ture.

Ini­tially 30 to 40 staff were to have lost their jobs in the mod­erni­sa­tion and reduction from a sev­en­day-a-week oper­a­tion to five.

How­ever, he had been told about 30 workers had opted to re­tire, with en­ti­tle­ments, which meant fewer than 10 were left with­out work.

“So the fig­ure is nowhere as in­tim­i­dat­ing as it was . . . It’s still not per­fect, but given that they are go­ing to con­tinue op­er­at­ing the mill, mod­ernise it and spend tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, it’s a good out­come for Kaitaia.”

It was “tremen­dously pos­i­tive” that union lead­ers, stake­hold­ers and man­age­ment had been able to agree, Jones said.

Con­tin­ued man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity in the Far North meant an al­ter­na­tive to “un­fin­ished logs dis­ap­pear­ing ho­lus bo­lus over­seas”.

It was also pos­i­tive for Ma¯ori be­cause a lot of trees came from tribal-owned land.

Jones said he had met the own­ers of Juken NZ who as­sured him their com­mit­ment to Kaitaia was solid but they still had con­cerns about fu­ture tim­ber sup­plies.

Jones said he was work­ing with Gov­ern­ment col­leagues, in par­tic­u­lar Trade and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter David Parker, to see what could be done to en­sure se­cu­rity of sup­ply for lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers.

New Zealand gen­eral man­ager Dave Hil­liard said last week that the mill had to change to sur­vive. That meant re­duc­ing from a 24/7 oper­a­tion to 24 hours a day, five days a week to meet the chal­lenges of log sup­ply and prod­uct de­mand.

“For the long-term fu­ture of this mill, both sides have had to make com­pro­mises — workers here have al­ways had a four days on, four days off shift pat­tern — and we thank E tu and First Union for their work to find a so­lu­tion that works for its mem­bers and the plant,” Hil­liard said.

“We’ve spent the past three weeks con­sult­ing with our peo­ple and the unions on the plan, in­clud­ing open­ing up vol­un­tary sev­er­ance to min­imise the peo­ple im­pacted. Re­gret­tably, some re­dun­dan­cies will oc­cur un­der the pro­posal, but a num­ber of peo­ple have in­di­cated they would seek vol­un­tary sev­er­ance. ”

“JNL is com­mit­ted to North­land, to se­cur­ing long-term jobs for our peo­ple, and to grow­ing do­mes­tic wood pro­cess­ing.”

The plan would re­solve the ma­jor is­sues re­lat­ing to plant, peo­ple and pro­duc­tion that had seen the mill op­er­at­ing un­sus­tain­ably. The ma­chin­ery and tech­nol­ogy would be re­fur­bished, a process that would also ad­dress­ing health and safety “chal­lenges” at the age­ing plant.

Pro­duc­tion would be stream­lined, and would match the sup­ply of logs with de­mand for the mill’s prod­uct in New Zealand and Ja­pan.

Hil­liard added that one of the ma­jor is­sues fac­ing the mill was a short­age of logs from North­land forests. The com­pany was in dis­cus­sions with the Gov­ern­ment about how the short­age could be re­solved.

Photo / Ta­nia Whyte

Hora Hora Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Pat New­man says in­volv­ing po­lice is the only op­tion in deal­ing with volatile kids.

Mikaela Collins

The planned re­fur­bish­ment of the tri­board mill will help se­cure the fu­ture of Kaitaia.

Mayor John Carter

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