Kids put boot into minister

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Outraged Queenstown Primary students have written to the Government to protest girl’s self-defence courses being scrapped. 

The Ministry of Social Development has ann-ounced it will can funding for the nationwide Girls’ Self Defence Project – a bad call according to a group of strong-willed local students who’ve done the course. 

About 45 year eight girls at Queenstown Primary did a two-day course run by the Women’s Self Defence Network earlier this year on how to handle tricky situations and physically defend themselves. 

And the empowered youngsters say all young women should get the same training. 

They’ve sent letters to Social Development Minister Paula Bennett voicing their concerns over the cuts. 

“It’s not a want, it’s a need,” student Tia Mana­watu, 12, says. 

“It’s a great opportunity for girls our age. I think it’s safe to say that we have all learnt so much and feel very safe.” 

Hannah-Lilly Osna­brugge, 12, adds: “If they stop it, they’d be putting other girls and women in vulnerable positions.” 

Riverton-based self-defence instructor Sarah Anderson puts Queenstown and Arrowtown Primary kids through the course and feels it’s essential. 

Some students have already been in situations – such as strangers trying to entice them into a car – where self-defence skills are needed, Anderson says. 

“Queenstown may be a decile 10 area, but it’s a place where girls especially need it. Essentially [no funding] means either the schools have to pay, which is a lot of money for them, or girls don’t get the course,” she says.