Two years of peace?: the Schools Consultative Group and the state in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis is an examination of the formation, operation and dissolution of the Schools Consultative Group in New Zealand. In the context of the neo-Liberal restructuring of the state sector that occurred throughout the 1980s, the formation of this group was a political anomaly. The expulsion of 'vested interests' from the education sector, as in other public sectors, was a significant theme of the reorganisation of the administration of education. Yet the Schools Consultative Group, as a collection of education sector interest groups, was invited by the Minister of Education to advise him on matters of policy. While appearing to function as a consultative forum, it is argued in this thesis that the need for such a group arose out of the structural inadequacies of the neo-Liberal state form. More particularly, the struggle in education, which had reached critical proportions by 1992, was precipitated by the structural exclusion of education sector groups as 'vested interests'. The transformation of both modes of interest representation and intervention in the education state generated a structural crisis which was manifested in the form of a political crisis of support for continued educational reform. It is suggested here that the Schools Consultative Group represented a political strategy to contain the education crisis and to remove from the public arena a very public conflict between the Minister of Education and the teachers' unions over the direction of education policy.