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The issue of children’s safety when standing on school buses was raised by Wanaka Primary School Board Chairman Andrew Howard earlier this year.
At the time, Mr Howard called for action from central government to adopt a one-seat-per-child funding formula or change legislation to stand on travelling buses.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult took the matter up with the Ministry of Education and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), and this week received advice from the NZTA that the Ministry had agreed ''to terminate the practice of allowing standing passengers on school buses''.
Mr Boult said his first message was one of congratulations and thanks to all of those involved.
“This is a bold decision on behalf of the Ministry as there will be costs involved in bringing additional capacity into the school bus fleet.
"But I applaud them for responding to the concerns raised. It’s a change that needs to be made to reduce the risks to our district’s children travelling to and from school,” he said.
Mr Howard said it was is an amazing result.
“People have been asking for this change for decades and to have finally achieved it is massively satisfying. Thank you to Mayor Jim Boult, the Wanaka Primary School community and the Ministry of Education School Transport team for making this happen,” said Mr Howard.
Mayor Boult praised Mr Howard for driving the campaign for change and congratulated him on a successful outcome.
“It’s easy to close our eyes to situations sometimes and it takes someone like Mr Howard to stand up and say ‘this situation is ludicrous’. I for one am delighted that he did challenge the status quo and has made the daily school run safer for all our children.”