Shocking new attendance data showing that just 40 per cent of students attended school regularly in term two is appalling and shows that Labour is failing a generation of children, Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“Even more heartbreaking is that more than 100,000 Kiwi kids are still chronically absent from school, meaning they are missing three out of every ten days – up from 38,000 in 2017.

“Research shows that every day of school missed has a negative impact and kids that do not attend school regularly are five times more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and maths.

“The decline in attendance rates under Labour has mirrored New Zealand’s plummeting achievement levels. Just 2 per cent of decile 1 high school students can pass a basic writing test.

“Without urgent action now, this Government stands to fail an entire generation of children who are falling further behind with every passing week. This should be the Government’s top priority in education. 

“Instead of waffly strategy documents, we need decisive action to get kids back in school regularly and learning the basics they need to thrive and become authors of their own destiny.

“National would relentlessly target attendance by setting clear expectations for schools and parents that kids not going to school is no longer an option. We will hold ourselves, schools and parents accountable for ensuring that kids are regularly in school.

“We will shift resources from back office bureaucrats in Wellington to the frontline, so schools have the support they need to give every child the opportunity to benefit from a world-class education.

“This is not just a social failure but a future economic crisis.”