Seeing as it's Sorry Week, here's an apology some honest education department apparatchik might like to deliver.
Today I'd like to honour the New Zealand children who were delivered by government force into our care, and whom we rewarded by abusing their parents' trust and depriving them of the human potential with which they were born.
We reflect on your past mistreatment, and we have to say: we were responsible.
We reflect in particular on those New Zealanders who due to decades of our mismanagement have emerged from our factory schools functionally illiterate and wholly unemployable -- unable either to read or write or count, and who as a consequence now fill our prisons and the wastelands of our welfare facilities. On behalf of all my colleagues with whom I share the responsibility of putting you there, to you all we say sorry.
To the nearly one-million New Zealanders who have emerged blinking into the modern world -- unable to function in it due to the failure of our teaching methods and good for nothing beyond stuffing a ballot box -- we say sorry.
I say to you that the time has now come to turn a new page in history by recognising the wrongs of the past, and by ensuring with the end of our dominion over this country's children that they never, ever happen again.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive governments and curricula and educational regimes that have inflicted a profound emptiness, suffering and loss on you our young New Zealanders. The public school system stole you away from your parents and turned your minds to mush. From the very springtime of your youth We took your bright, eager young minds -- we took them, your normal minds, and replaced them with mental retardation. To all of those whom we made unconscious for life by means of your own brain, we say sorry.
We apologise for teaching you that you do not belong to yourself, but that you are public property; that you must be taught not to amass wealth, but to seek instead your duty. To you all who were taught that contributing to the wants and demands of the state is superior to learning the virtues of rationality, independence and productivity -- for enlisting you into the great organic vitality of society, whether you like it or not, for the greater good -- we say sorry.
For substituting "group discussions" for delivering knowledge and "class projects for genuine understanding, we say sorry. For placing group hugs and socialisation over conceptual development and the acquiring of real skills, we say sorry.
For delivering you into the world as adults barely able to function, we really are desperately sorry.
And finally to parents who were forced to delivered up to us your children and your tax dollars and to whom we repaid by returning you burnt-out hulks coddled with therapy -- with dangerously inflated self-esteem and and an "appetite for destruction" -- we say sorry.
As you can see, we have a lot to apologise for.
We the former educational apparatchiks of New Zealand respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered.
For the future of those of you whose minds we have mangled we have no hope, but for the rest of you we take heart in knowing that we are now removing ourselves from the ability to do any more harm; resolving that this new page in the history of this great country can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all New Zealanders still able to function.
A future where our parliament resolves that the children of New Zealand be kept free from our malign influence so that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again .
A future where you can embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where our old approaches have clearly failed.
We are really a very, very sorry lot, and we resolve hereby to never darken your lifetimes again.