School board will press ministry on bus seating policy

Despite seeing positive signs from a meeting with a Ministry of Education delegation, Wanaka Primary School board chairman Andrew Howard says he will continue to "keep the pressure on" the ministry to adopt a one seat per child policy on school buses travelling on the open road.

The school’s board of trustees met four ministry representatives in Wanaka on Tuesday, after Mr Howard "caught their attention" by publicly expressing concern about primary school pupils standing on school buses travelling at up to 80kmh. Mr Howard said on Friday

he "felt positive" about the ministry’s approach to the situation, although a clear conclusion had yet to be reached.

The ministry had presented pricing for how much it would cost to adopt a one seat per child policy, which Mr Howard said he did not agree with, as the figure was "substantially more" than the $1.4 million quoted in a 2010 ministry report.

Officials would go back and get clarification of that cost in the next week.

Mr Howard said he had been contacted by people from Auckland to Invercargill who had approached the ministry with similar concerns in the past, but had failed in doing so.

"We can’t let that carry on again."

"We’ve been talking with the ministry for six months, and I’m not willing to wait another six months. I need to have a result within a month. We need to keep the pressure on."

"We shouldn’t have to wait until kids are hurt or killed."

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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