“Very few people turned us down,” says Donovan Primary School principal Peter Hopwood who spent most of two days campaigning in and around Invercargill as well as releasing staff to join the Better Funding Better Learning van.
“On the contrary, many people we spoke to were highly supportive. They didn’t think twice about getting better and more appropriate funding into learning.” Peter is chair of the Principals’ Council NZEI.
There’s been no argument from principals of kindergartens and schools, boards of trustees, early childhood centre owners or teachers and none from the communities big and small along the way.
Southland released a sizeable contingent of volunteers to staff the van over the four days it was in the area – at least one principal and three teachers were on board at any time, as well as volunteer van driver, retired principal Murray Smeaton and local field officers and other activists turning up at a full itinerary of schools, plus the Southern Institute of Technology and Southern Farmers Market on the weekend.
Hundreds of signatures are being collected each day for the national petition and on postcards, indicating the strength of popular support as the campaign increases momentum. Every day, even in tiny communities, two hundred plus singed postcards are bundled up and posted from those small communities to reinforce the message to local MPs, with multiple mail drops in Prime Minister Bill English’s Southland electorate.