Few judicial review actions are filed in New Zealand each year and even fewer succeed. With that in mind, I just can’t fathom why Kawerau Intermediate is taking that route. From RNZ:
Kawerau Intermediate School (KI) in the Eastern Bay of Plenty has lodged an application for a High Court judicial review to try and save the school from closure.
Education Minister Hekia Parata wants to close the school and nearby Kawerau College from the end of this year.
A new year seven to 13 secondary school in the town will then be opened on the existing college site.
The principal of the intermediate says the judicial review is the final chance the community has to save the school.
That’s the thing, judicial review can’t and won’t save the school. The remedies available to KI are limited. The best the Court can do is order the Minister to revisit the decision, this time correcting any errors of law, breaches to natural justice and so on. All this means in practice is 1) The Minister will revisit the decision, but this time ticking all of the boxes and 2) The same decision will be reached. In other words, the Minister will still close the school. Let me be clear, the Court cannot order the government to leave KI open. The Courts cannot decide on the substantive merits of the Minister’s decision, merely the process.
If you ask me, this is a frivolous action on behalf of KI. It’s a massive waste of money. Money that could go towards providing high quality education and activities for the remaining students. The school may win a moral victory if they win the case, but they won’t score a substantive victory. It’s about time they let this issue rest.